Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told Newsmax TV
on Tuesday that he would "certainly look into pardoning" former NSA contractor Edward Snowden if he were elected to the White House in November.
"This is someone who has divulged information that we would not know about currently — and that's the United States government spying on all of us as U.S. citizens," Johnson, 63, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, told "The Hard Line" host John Bachman. "I don't want to see him in prison."
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Snowden, now 32, remains in Russia under temporary political asylum after leaking classified National Security Agency documents in 2013.
Johnson — who served two terms in the New Mexico Statehouse, from 1995 to 2003 — said that he agreed with former Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, who said Monday that Snowden has performed a "public service" by releasing the information on the agency's vast data-collection programs.
"It's pretty darn accurate," he said of Holder's assessment, "and keep it in mind, the American Revolution, we have these people now being looked back as heroes.
"We would not know about this mass surveillance that's going on right now."
Johnson became a Libertarian in 2011. This is his second bid for the White House as a Libertarian. He withdrew from the Republican primary that year before re-announcing his third-party run.
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