The Obama administration has been urged by editorials from The Guardian and The New York Times to help Edward Snowden by offering him clemency of some type, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Roughly seven months ago, Snowden stole approximately 1.7 million classified documents that contained details about the United States government surveillance program. He gave the information to the media. Snowden was working as a contractor for the National Security Administration when this occurred.
The documents showed that the NSA forced companies in the country to release customer information without the use of warrants. The documents also outlined how phone and internet networks had their data intercepted by the NSA.
Since the leak, the NSA has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and backlash has been immense around the world. According to Reuters, the lawsuit requests that the government disclose information about the surveillance program and how Americans are protected when the government searches for terrorist communications. Twitter, Google, and Facebook have teamed up with other major tech companies asking for tighter control on surveillance by the government.
In the editorial from The New York Times, published on Wednesday, the newspaper named Snowden a whistleblower, but also said he should be provided clemency. From the editorial:
“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”
The Guardian also published an editorial on Wednesday, asking for clemency for Snowden as well. From the editorial:
“Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage.”