A petition in support of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract worker charged in espionage, on the "We the People" page of Whitehouse.gov, has gained steam with more than 100,000 names in two weeks.
Snowden remained in hiding Tuesday as the U.S. government struggled to gain cooperation from foreign governments, including like China and Russia, on his whereabouts. That has not stopped Snowden supporters from getting behind him with the petition.
The "We the People" petition reads: "Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs."
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The petition was started by P.M. from Rochester, N.Y., according to the Whitehouse.gov website
. The petitioner had until July 9 to get 100,000 signatures for an official White House response. The petition had 116,823 signatures by Tuesday morning.
The Huffington Post reported that The White House wouldn't say when its response will come but it has declined to comment on petitions regarding law enforcement matters in the past.
Snowden is charged with exposing two secret U.S. surveillance programs, reported CBS News
. Snowden was supposed to have left Moscow for a plan for Havana, Cuba but he never boarded the airliner, CBS News said.
"We have asked the Russians to look at the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday afternoon, according to CBS News.
Snowden was in Hong Kong before leaving there for Russia, angering the Obama administration, Carney told CBS News.
"This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive, despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship," CBS News reported Carney as saying.
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Snowden has asked the South American country of Ecuador for asylum, according to the Huffington Post. Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino called Snowden Monday "a man attempting to bring light and transparency to facts that affect everyone's fundamental liberties."
Per the Huffington Post, Patino described the choice of given Snowden refuge is like "betraying the citizens of the world or betraying certain powerful elites in a specific country."
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