There has been a long-lasting debate on whether Edward Snowden, and for that matter, even Julian Assange, should be pardoned or not. Edward Snowden was accused of leaking NSA classified information about how the US government spies on US citizens on an ongoing basis. The US Department of Justice has charged him with two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.
Edward Snowden has asked for clemency. Right now, he is living in either Germany or Russia, depending on which newspaper is writing about him.
Many human rights activists and free-speech advocates have appealed to Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden and let him come back to the US.
In a recent statement, the outgoing President Barack Obama has stated that there is no question of pardoning Edward Snowden because he hasn’t stood trial in one of the US Courts. During his European tour, in an interview to Der Spiegel – reportedly the largest newspaper in Germany – Obama said that even if Snowden was very popular in Germany, there was no question of pardoning him in the US. He said, “I can’t pardon somebody who hasn’t gone before the court and presented themselves, so that’s not something that I would comment on at the point.”
Barack Obama partly agrees to what Snowden did. Obama further said, “I think Mr Snowden raised some legitimate concerns. How he did it was something that did not follow the procedures and practices of our intelligence community.”
Alarmingly, Donald Trump’s pick to run the CIA when it becomes the president, Mike Pompeo, says that Edward Snowden is a traitor and hence he should be executed. This has gotten many people worried because even Donald Trump’s supporters believe that what Snowden did was commendable and he should be pardoned instead of being punished so severely.