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Edward Snowden Makes Case For Pardon

Image: Edward Snowden Makes Case For Pardon

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden participates via video link from Russia in a parliamentary hearing on the subject of improving the protection of whistleblowers on June 23, 2015, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, northeastern France. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Sep 2016 12:06 PM

Edward Snowden made a case for a presidential pardon in a video interview with The Guardian on Monday, saying leaked documents from the National Security Agency benefited U.S. citizens.

Snowden, who remains in exile in Moscow, is accused of violating the Espionage Act and could end up in prison for at least 30 years if he ever returns to the United States and is prosecuted, according to The Guardian.

Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the United States in May, 2013 after leaking to the media details about internet and phone surveillance activities, exposing how the NSA kept telephone data on "tens of millions" of Americans, BBC News reported. The Guardian first reported the documents Snowden leaked followed by the Washington Post, the BBC News noted.

"Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," Snowden said in the interview, according to The Guardian.

"I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The (U.S.) Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result," Snowden continued.

Snowden's leaks revealed that the NSA used a surveillance program called Prism that tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, BBC News reported.

The British electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ was swept up in the controversy because it was revealed that it also gained information on internet companies through Prism, BBC News noted.

Snowden told The Guardian that he believed that one day he will be allowed to return to the United States.

"In the fullness of time, I think I will end up back home," Snowden told The Guardian. "Once the officials, who felt like they had to protect the programs, their positions, their careers, have left government and we start looking at things from a more historical perspective, it will be pretty clear that this war on whistleblowers does not serve the interests of the United States; rather it harms them."

A movie on Snowden's life, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the alleged whistleblower and Zachary Quinto as former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald is expected to hit theaters on Friday. A documentary on Snowden, "Citizenfour," won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2015.

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Edward Snowden made a case for a presidential pardon in a video interview Monday saying leaked documents from the National Security Agency benefited U.S. citizens.
edward snowden, case, pardon, video
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2016-06-13
Tuesday, 13 Sep 2016 12:06 PM
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