According to PardonSnowden.org, the Pardon Snowden campaign submitted a petition to President President Obama last Friday that it claims contained over 1 million signatures, urging the president to see to it that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is pardoned.
The letter itself also contained signatures from the heads of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
We are hereby delivering signatures from 1,101,252 people across the world who ask that you use your presidential authority to pardon Edward Snowden.
As you well know, Snowden disclosed information to journalists revealing that the NSA had overstepped U.S. statutes, the Constitution, and international law by engaging in widespread, warrantless surveillance. In response, we’ve seen a global debate that has changed government policies and profoundly affected how people think about personal privacy.
Since Snowden acted, all three branches of the U.S. government have worked to rein in the NSA’s powers. Technology companies have increased their use of encryption. The United Nations appointed a first-ever privacy watchdog. These are but a few examples of the reforms triggered by Snowden.
However, Obama has already made it clear that pardoning Snowden is not something he's of the mind to do. In an interview with Germany's largest newspaper Der Spiegel, the president made mention that if everyone acted like Snowden, then national security would be very difficult, and that Snowden should present himself to a court.
I think that Mr. Snowden raised some legitimate concerns. How he did it was something that did not follow the procedures and practices of our intelligence community. If everybody took the approach that I make my own decisions about these issues, then it would be very hard to have an organized government or any kind of national security system.
At the point at which Mr. Snowden wants to present himself before the legal authorities and make his arguments or have his lawyers make his arguments, then I think those issues come into play. Until that time, what I've tried to suggest -- both to the American people, but also to the world -- is that we do have to balance this issue of privacy and security.
While some may hope that this petition will sway Obama to give Snowden a last minute pardon before he vacates the Oval Office, the chances aren't looking very good.