New York, NY, United States (4E) – National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden should be given clemency for revealing that the agency abused its authority, according to a New York Times (NYT) editorial published Wednesday.
“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 NYT editorial said.
The editorial added, “When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. And it’s why President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.”
The editorial comes seven months after Snowden leaked to the NYT and the British newspaper The Guardian NSA’s collection of phone call data and email messages of hundreds of millions of people around the world, including Americans. The U.S. government charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property forcing him to take asylum in Russia.
The editorial justified the clemency for Snowden saying there is no proof he harmed national security as claimed by U.S. government officials critical of him and because Rick Ledgett, who leads the NSA’s task force on the leaks, suggested amnesty for the whistleblower.