Edward Snowden

Ron Paul Launches Snowden Clemency Petition

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Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia

Today, it was reported that former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) launched a petition calling for NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden to be granted clemency.

On the page on the Ron Paul Channel's website where visitors can sign the petition, the former congressman says,

Edward Snowden sacrificed his livelihood, citizenship, and freedom by exposing the disturbing scope of the NSA's worldwide spying program. Thanks to one man's courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them.

The news of Paul's petition comes on the same day it was reported that the European Parliament had voted against calling for  Snowden to be granted asylum.

The New York Times and The Guardian both urged U.S. officials to grant Snowden clemency last month.

According to the Ron Paul Channel, Snowden's temporary asylum in Russia will expire at the end of July.

Yesterday, Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on the motion "Snowden was Justified." Speaking for the motion were legal adviser to Edward Snowden and ACLU attorney Ben Wizner and Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg. Speaking against the motion were former CIA Director James Woolsey and former federal prosecutor and contributing editor to National Review Andrew McCarthy. 

Wizner said Snowden was justified "because he provided to journalists and through them to us information that we had a right to know and that we had a need to know. The government had not just concealed this information, it had lied to us about it."

Woolsey claimed that Snowden had released information to "Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Pyongyang, Tehran, and so on." Thankfully, Ellsberg pointed out that Snowden released information to journalists who have since reported on the documents.

Before the debate began 29 percent were for the motion, 29 percent were against the motion, and 43 percent were undecided. After the debate, 54 percent were for the motion, 35 percent were against the motion, and 11 percent were undecided.

Watch the debate below: