Recently the White House issued a formal response to “Pardon Edward Snowden” petition posted on its official site since June 09, 2013, and the answer was NO.
People who signed the petition consider that the former NSA contractor who leaked highly sensitive information on governmental domestic surveillance programs such as PRISM is a hero. They also hope that he will be allowed to return home from Russia where he had sought asylum without fear of prosecution.
Nevertheless, although the petition was signed by nearly 170,000 Americans, that didn’t impress the White House very much. Obama administration cited the dangerous behavior of Snowden for national security and the people “who work day in and day out to protect” the county.
White House response, however, is highly unusual since it usually positively responds to petitions that have garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
The official response to the petition posted on the “We the People” section of the White House’s site was mostly drafted by Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s right arm on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism issues.
In the response letter, Ms. Monaco argued that Snowden should have the courage and return to the country where he should take full responsibility for his actions. She also wrote that he should face a trial and “be judged by a jury of his peers,” rather than receiving protection from an “authoritarian regime,” aka Russia.
“Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions,”
Ms. Monaco concluded.
She also said that his reckless attitude put at risk the security of the entire country and the U.S. supremacy in a “dangerous“ world threatened by hackers, terrorists, and dictators with nuclear weapons at their disposal.
Snowden was charged by the U.S. government under the Espionage Act for stealing government property and threatening national security. A couple of years ago, he sought asylum in Russia where he still resides in an unknown location. He expressed his concerns that if he were to return to the U.S., he wouldn’t get a fair trial.
Last year, Snowden told Jane Mayer, an investigative journalist for The New Yorker, that that he had asked the U.S. government to grant him an open and fair trial but his request was rejected. He added that the U.S. wants a closed court and trial him under the Classified Information [Procedures] Act (CIPA), rather than make things public. Snowden also mentioned former NSA manager Thomas Drake and said that he didn’t get a fair trial in a similar case either.
Image Source: Huffington Post
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