Several human rights organizations will soon launch a campaign urging President Obama to pardon NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. According to Motherboard, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others are involved in this movement. Although there is already a password-protected website online, the news will formally be announced on Wednesday. This initiative is expected to involve a “mass signature campaign around the world,” and also “prominent individuals and organizations” who will support the cause.
The Obama administration denied public requests to pardon Edward Snowden, who violated the Espionage Act for his 2013 document leaks, this is because Snowdens release of classified material revealed American mass surveillance programs which as homeland security and counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco said; “had severe consequences for the security of our (the) country.”
This summer, Ben Wizner – Snowden’s ACLU counsel, says he intends to make a strong case for a pardon in the months before Obama leaves office. With the Snowden movie set to appear in theaters on Friday, two days after the campaign launches, Wizner hopes that Snowden’s sympathetic portrayal of its protagonist, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will help to bolster public support, he told Motherboard;
I think Oliver [Stone] will do more for Snowden in two hours than his lawyers have been able to do in three years.
Snowden is currently living in Russia on a temporary residency permit, which will expire next year. If he is indeed pardoned, it would end years of uncertainty for Snowden who after leaving the US in 2013, has unsuccessfully sought asylum in several countries.
Edward Joseph Snowden is an American computer professional born June 21, 1983. He was a former CIA employee, and former contractor for the US Government who copied classified information from the United States National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without prior authorization. The information revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. His revelations were the start of a series of global surveillance disclosures.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a Partisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It works through litigation, lobbying, and community empowerment. Founded in 1920 by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman,Walter Nelles, Morris Ernst, Albert DeSilver, Arthur Garfield Hays, Jane Addams, Felix Frankfurter, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the ACLU provides legal assistance in cases when it considers civil liberties to be at risk. Legal support from the ACLU can take the form of direct legal representation or preparation of amicus curiae briefs expressing legal arguments when another law firm is already providing representation.