Pardon The Traitor??? NO WAY!

Edward Snowden is asking President Obama for an official pardon before his term ends next January.  Now, President Obama has not yet asked my opinion on this, though I’m sure he will be calling later this week to seek my thoughts on the matter.  And when he does, here is what I will say:

Over my dead body A snowball’s chance in Hell!

The odds, I believe, of Snowden receiving pardon under President Obama are slim-to-none.  A petition started back in 2013 received some 167,000+ signatures, and therefore qualified for a response from the White House.  Qualifying for a response and getting the response you hope for, however may be two different things. In 2015, the White House responded to Snowden’s petition with:

“He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers”

snowden1Today, Snowden is renewing his plea for a presidential pardon, saying that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off. There are arguments pro and con for whether his actions made positive differences or made us more vulnerable to the threat of terrorism, but there can be no doubt that Mr. Snowden violated the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 and as such, faces a minimum of 30 years in prison should he return to the U.S.

Why now?, you may ask. Because, Hillary Clinton has already made her position clear and Snowden would stand no chance for pardon under a Clinton president.  Under a Trump president, then?  Who knows? In July 2013, Trump said “I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country — you know what we used to do to traitors, right?” But then three months later he tweeted “Snowden is a spy who should be executed—but if … he could reveal Obama’s records, I might become a major fan.” I imagine Snowden thought he was better off trying to gain a pardon from President Obama than counting on Trump.

snowden2Edward Snowden, 33, a former CIA analyst, has been called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor. There is no doubt that he is one of the most controversial people of this decade.  My own opinion is that he is a traitor who risked national security and countless lives; an idiot savant who failed to consider all the potential ramifications of his actions.  Why?  According to him, it was because he was speaking up for his beliefs.  As one who does exactly that every day, I should not have an argument, right?  But, he was in a position of trust, he had access to top-secret security data, and he broke that trust, endangered the lives of the citizens of this nation. I see in Snowden’s acts a darker, less altruistic and more dangerous motive.  And bottom line, he broke the law and compromised our lives, though there are those who disagree.

What were the results of the Snowden leaks?  Well, those who would hail him as a hero claim the Freedom Act, passed in 2015, which imposed some limitations on the bulk collection of telecommunication metadata on U.S. citizens. Those who would call him a traitor point to the damages done, including:

  • A series of ongoing intelligence operations had to be abandoned.
  • The highly classified information he released provided terrorist organizations with an advanced understanding of the steps we were taking to stop them, and as a result they changed their methods of communicating, further thwarting our efforts to stop them.

Among those who hail him a “hero” and believe he should be pardoned, never needing to take responsibility for his actions, are former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and filmmaker Oliver Stone.  Mr. Stone, coincidentally, has produced a movie scheduled to release this week, Snowden, so he is all set to profit from his support of Mr. Snowden.

Whether you are in the camp that considers Snowden a hero or a traitor, the reality is that he is very unlikely to receive a presidential pardon from President Obama.  There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • Snowden embarrassed the U.S. and stole documents related to legitimate security operations.
  • Since his exile to Russia, he has continued to engage in activism against the best interest of the US, including defending Apple in their fight against the FBI. He also says he has developed a phone case that will “hide” the user’s location from the big, bad government who is out to use the fact that you are shopping at Walgreen’s for its own nefarious purposes.
  • To pardon Snowden would set a precedent that we cannot afford, and potentially encourage future traitors who might consider themselves “patriots”.
  • Snowden’s pardon would be a blemish on the Obama presidency. Other presidents have made controversial pardons, such as Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and Nixon’s pardon of Jimmy Hoffa, that left an indelible stain on their presidential record.
  • Given the administration’s official response in 2015, there is no indication that President Obama would be willing to consider a pardon for Snowden.

snowden3Though it is controversial, and there are multiple facets to each side of this coin that are far too complex for this single post, I stand by my opinion that Snowden is no hero and should pay the price for his actions.  According to recent news stories, he is not suffering, appears relaxed and happy, has no limitations on freedom of movement within Russia, so let him stay there.  If he wants to come back, let him face the consequences of his actions, just like you or I would have to do.

10 thoughts on “Pardon The Traitor??? NO WAY!

  1. Whistleblowers have tough circumstances they must face. It is an act of bravery to make the decision with all the circumstantial facts set before the whistleblower who still decides to blow on behalf of the people.

    I write this from knowledge about our government and whistleblowers. My offspring is a whistleblower and worked for The State Department and Homeland Security. He blew the whistle more than once.

    It is because he decided to act on acting on behalf of the people, the government has retaliated in a most unbecoming way.

    He is now a TI or targeted individual and his case is in the courts in California.

    If you want more information, then email me at bonniegjenings@gmail.com. I have a blog where I’ve been taking his notes and it is password protected. I will send to you the blog and password so that you might understand better the cunning underhanded movements of some people with authority.

    This blog was removed 3 times by someone other than myself. So, i wrote 2 more blogs (password protected that also disappeared) and a week later one by one they slowly returned still password protected, yet someone was able to hack all 3 blogs about my son.

    It is very possible Snowden was acting on behalf of all men who want to be free from government enslavement by the use of technology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I certainly realize that there are two sides to this coin, I stand by my opinion that to release confidential information that can put our troops or our citizens in jeopardy is unconscionable. I have spoken to many who consider Snowden a hero, and have seriously considered their points of view, but at the end of the day, after much thought, I still call him a traitor. However, I do not necessarily apply that label to every whistleblower, only those who would endanger lives. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know about a pardon and I can’t say what he’s been up to since his escape from the US but I think Edward Snowden is a hero and I am definitely more conscious of my online activity now more than before because of Snowden. I can understand the need to combat the threat of terrorism etc etc but I give a lot of info to corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter and that act is based on a form of virtual trust we’ve developed between us. I’d hate to think anybody – whether for good or bad – had a backdoor to access my information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I do realize that some view him as a hero, and as Keith said, the issue is FAR more complex, multi-faceted than what I have covered here. I started to go into all the pros and cons, but realized that I was losing my main point, which is that he should not get pardoned. I may delve deeper into it all in a future post, and I will keep your thoughts in mind if I do. Thanks, Senam!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For the most part, I agree with you, yet this is a complex story which needs to create more conversation on the balance between freedom and security. He at least started the conversation, but pardoning him is a bridge too far.
    I am less a fan of WikiLeaks, as it reminds me a little of Beavis and Butthead snickering over sharing secrets. Some of those leaks have been harmful and dangerous by betraying confidences. I go back to what if someone leaked our emails and texts. Anyone could be made to look like a fool if their communications were leaked. Plus, really bad actors who are not breached are unfairly competing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I agree with you, that it is much more complex than I have addressed here. I actually did a ton of research, have several pages of notes, but realized that: a) it was going to require more than a single post to incorporate all sides of the issue, and b) the only point I was really hoping to make with this post was that he should not, could not, receive a pardon. But I kept the notes and may address “the rest of the story” at some later date. As always, thank you for your insight … I learn much from you!

      Liked by 1 person

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