Edward Snowden

White House Unsurprisingly Will Not Pardon Edward Snowden

Response to 'We the people' petition calls for him to 'accept the consequences.'

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Hope he's not too homesick.
The Guardian

At the White House's "We the People" online petition system, 167,954 people demanded that the administration give domestic surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden a "full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs."

The petition was filed in June 2013 and the White House has finally gotten around to responding, more than two years later. The short answer: LOL, NOPE! Here's the long answer:

Thanks for signing a petition about Edward Snowden. This is an issue that many Americans feel strongly about. Because his actions have had serious consequences for our national security, we took this matter to Lisa Monaco, the President's Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Here's what she had to say:

"Since taking office, President Obama has worked with Congress to secure appropriate reforms that balance the protection of civil liberties with the ability of national security professionals to secure information vital to keep Americans safe.

As the President said in announcing recent intelligence reforms, "We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require."

Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and—importantly—accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers—not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions.

We live in a dangerous world. We continue to face grave security threats like terrorism, cyber-attacks, and nuclear proliferation that our intelligence community must have all the lawful tools it needs to address. The balance between our security and the civil liberties that our ideals and our Constitution require deserves robust debate and those who are willing to engage in it here at home."

Reminder: If Snowden were to come home to the United States, he would not be permitted to defend his actions by claiming to be a whistleblower.

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  1. Very well. I demand that the administration give Hillary Clinton a “full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes she has committed or may have committed related to her tenure as Secretary of State”!

    1. Now THAT is the best idea I’ve heard in years! Wish the Repugnantcans were smart enough to get it started.

    2. It’s already been taken care of.

    3. Forget it. If Snowden fries, so does Hitlery.

  2. Exactly. This is America, where no one is above the law.

    1. Oh, really?

      1. You have little choice but to read that sarcastically, considering this is the Obama Administration.

        1. And it’s antihistamines who is delightfully scornful of the state.

      2. DREDD IS that law, not above it.

    2. The President is above the law.

      The only thing that can stop the President is impeachment.

      If Congress isn’t willing to impeach the President, there isn’t anything anybody can do about Presidential crimes until the President is out of office, and once out of office, the chances of the next President pardoning him or her (to end our “long national nightmare”) are probably far greater than 50/50.

      President Hillary Clinton might use her pardoning power to sell indulgences. Thank Dog for impeachment provisions because her conscience sure as hell wouldn’t get in the way.

      1. “Thank Dog for impeachment provisions because her conscience sure as hell wouldn’t get in the way.”

        I heard that was surgically removed sometime just before she decided to ‘trade futures’, if you know what I mean.

      2. Which is one reason to cheer for Trump for POTUS. Finally, finally, we would have a US President impeached AND removed from office. His crime? Hate speech. That is the only crime that will ever get a U.S. President removed from office.
        So I think it would be kinda funny to actually see that episode happen. (Disclaimer: I agree that he is the worst candidate in the multiverse. But not by much. We’re talking nuances here.)

  3. Oh, I’m shocked that the greatest mostest liberalist mostest reformist mostest changiest and hopiest president in all da murl of murls won’t pardon Snowden.

    I am so shocked. Now I have to dranks moar.

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

    That would be a pleasant surprise.

    1. Paging Judge Forrest…paging Judge Forrest.

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

      Paddle faster, I hear woodchippers.

  5. I’d sarcastically say that I hope we can expect to see Hillary Clinton given the same treatment, but actually I think Hillary and the Obama Administration have always hated each other.

    The only reason he appointed her to be Secretary of State was because of horse trading during his first campaign. Obama wanted to be able to move to the center sooner–rather than defend himself from Hillary’s attacks on his left–and so he offered to make her Secretary of State if she threw in the towel.

    Incidentally, there’s been a wide breach in trust between Obama and the Democrats in general for quite some time, now. Obama’s treatment of both Harry Reid and Pelosi before the midterms showed that he doesn’t give a shit about how the Democrats fare as a party, and Pelosi’s treatment of Obama since suggests that the feeling is probably mutual.

    1. To most Americans, she has done nothing wrong. She is the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. That’s the narrative and she has a legion of press and pols carrying water for her.

      1. Part of my point was that I’m not sure Obama wouldn’t like to see Hillary’s scalp on his mantle.

        Obama hasn’t given a shit about what happened to the rest of the Democratic Party since just before the midterms. Ask Harry Reid. Ask Nancy Pelosi. Whether the Democrats keep the White House after Obama leaves, I really don’t think it matters that much to him.

        Obama might be just as happy as anybody to see Hillary take a fall.

        1. Of course she hates him. He supplanted her when she was the heir apparent.

    2. Obama nor any President elect ever chooses who will be in his cabinet. Those positions are chosen by the party. Yes, he might make a few suggestions to try to reward some of his campaign staffers, but then again most of those people are party insiders already.

      1. No, no, no.

        This was horse trading.

        Clinton was going to campaign all the way to the convention.

        It was a strategic offer.

        “What do you want to drop out of the campaign?”

        “Secretary of State”, she said.

        “Done deal”.

        If he’d liked her, he’d have made her Vice President. Well, that, and they needed an old white guy on the ticket. Obama was going around at the time telling people that marriage was between a man and a woman to assuage the socons. He wasn’t about to risk it all by having a woman on the ticket.

  6. Someone should make up a meme image comparing pardoning Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and not pardoning Edward Snowden.

  7. So, anyway, no, I don’t hope Hillary gets treated like Snowden. What Snowden did he did to highlight the abuse of the Constitutional rights of hundreds of millions of Americans, but Hillary has done everything she can to hide her disgusting behavior from the American people. Two very different things. If what Snowden did was illegal, then he should be tried by a jury of his peers, and if he’s convicted, he should be pardoned.

    Hillary should have to explain herself to a jury of her peers, too, and if she’s convicted, she should go to jail. If she’s elected President, she’ll be out of the reach of the justice system save by way of impeachment, and that’s a great reason to vote for a ham sandwich rather than Hillary.

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

    A jury that will be all but forbidden to nullify the law and will instead be obligated to convict him regardless of the justice or injustice in doing so.

    1. Dude there is no trial in Snowden’s future. He’d be black bagged the second he set foot on US soil and spend the rest of his miserable life wherever Obama is shipping the Guantanamo detainees to.

      1. It’s personal with Obama. Snowden made him look bad, and Obama wants to make him pay for that.

        Snowden should wait for Obama to leave office before he comes back. Putin won’t want him there forever.

        Although he might have found himself a nice Russian girlfriend by now, and that’s the kind of thing that might make exile to Siberia more than bearable.

        Believe it or not, before the wall came down, nobody knew they had hot chicks in Eastern Europe. We though the women over there all looked like this:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CaMUfxVJVQ

        We thought the Beatles were just kidding!

        1. It doesn’t matter who fills Obama’s seat in ‘016, they’ll all rendition Snowden out of professional courtesy to the good people at the CIA/NSA who are sitting on their dirty laundry. The only one who would probably at least give him a fair trial ending in a fair hanging would be Rand.

          1. and apparently the right wing media says he’s imploding because he takes a vacation instead of begging for money.

          2. As much as your pessimism is warranted, Hugh, it’s doubtful they could just black bag him. He would be mobbed by press and pro-bono lawyers every second of the day everywhere he went, and if he disappeared for any reason, there would be an uproar.

            FYTW thankfully still has some limits.

            1. The public uproar would blow over as soon as the next race/rape scandal broke, leaving only a tiny minority who could muster the energy to be outraged on Snowden’s behalf. And President Whomever could safely ignore them the way Obama has ignored this petition for the past two years .

              1. no, they’d assange him and he’d be accused of rape (or worse) by multiple women. his hero status would disappear and no one could defend him without being accused of supporting a rapist/murderer.

                1. That too. The feds would just happen to “find” 20 TB of Warty pr0n on his laptop.

                  1. Warty pr0n is tricky evidence. You only know it’s that for sure if you watch it. If you watch it, you’re not going to be in any shape to tell others that’s what it was.

                    1. It’s like something out of Lovecraft.

                    2. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, yet with strange aeons even death may cum.”

      2. ” — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime.”

        “Because see, they’re the BAD authoritarian regime. We’re the GOOD authoritarian regime. Because security, or something”

        /any DHS/NSA/TSA talking head

  9. “Because his actions have had serious consequences for our national security, we took this matter to Lisa Monaco, the President’s Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Here’s what she had to say:”
    ‘Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie,lie, lie, lie and a lie. FYTW!’

    1. The Obama Administration really is full of lying liars who lie about their lying.

  10. “Accept the consequences that we’re imposing upon you.” Why did you have to make America hit you, Ed?

    1. Yup. Not much difference between the US Government and a wife beater.

  11. “Reminder: If Snowden were to come home to the United States, he would not be permitted to defend his actions by claiming to be a whistleblower.”

    Indeed, Scott, The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers who leaked to journalists … more than all previous administrations combined.

    Additionally, former NSA employee William Binney’s (and others’) assertions may be rather compelling if one takes the time to read them.

  12. Could a member of congress put forth a bill that would pardon snowden, or is that just the president?

    Also, could a governor in his home state pardon him? Probably not against federal charges.

    1. Great minds think alike apparently.

  13. Could a member of congress put forth a bill that would pardon snowden, or is that just the president?

    Also, could a governor in his home state pardon him? Probably not against federal charges.

  14. FUCK THE NSA.

    With that taken care of: Can Congress pass a law pardoning someone? The house almost had 50% support for defunding the NSA, so that channel seems more productive than the presidency.

    1. why do we even have an NSA?

      1. In theory: to produce SIGINT by spying on bad governments/non-state actors abroad, and using that information in defense of national security. With a side goal of making our IT infrastructure safer against attackers of all types.

        In practice: to get dirt on citizens, allies, enemies and neutrals alike, and using that information in local criminal prosecution (bypassing constitutional protections), titillating NSA agents, and bureaucratic empire building. With a side goal of undermining IT security the world over.

        1. but don’t we have other agencies that do that?!~

          1. Oh, that. The NSA exists because DoD didn’t want to be dependent on the CIA, if I remember right.

            I’m pretty sure that for every thing the government does, there’s three agencies doing it independently of each other.

    2. I don’t believe Congress has any power to pardon anyone. However, they could pass a law, making it legal to reveal certain types of classified information, under certain circumstances narrowly defined to apply to Snowden, but nobody else, and to make it retro-active.

      But they would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to get it past an Obama veto.

  15. “Since taking office, President Obama has worked with Congress to secure appropriate reforms that balance the protection of civil liberties with the ability of national security professionals to secure information vital to keep Americans safe.

    “It’s something of a 80/20 split. I’m sure you can guess which direction.”

    1. Actually it’s closer to 8% and 92%.

    2. Exactly. With a hand tipping the scales. Seriously the seal of the Justice Department needs a new image.

      1. Lady Justice up against the wall, blindfolded, handcuffed, smoking a last cigarette.

        1. No cigarette because of secondhand smoke. Won’t you think of the children?!?

  16. It serves that Chi-com/Russian spy right. Putin’s puppet can stay in Russia all he wants. I hope he has gotten used to the taste of borscht and vodka!

  17. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions.

    You’re right, Obama has been since Obamacare and his foreign policy messes. Oh wait, you meant Snowden.

  18. Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

    Bull. Shit. On every level. I notice they keep talking about all these “severe consequences” without actually saying what they were. I’m guessing “severe consequences” = “made us look bad”?

    Anyways, given how the Obama administration has treated whistleblowers in the past, I know exactly how it would have gone if he had “chosen to constructively address those issues”.

    1. Severe consequences = “Section 215 authority lapsed for a week, you guys!”.

  19. The balance between our security and the civil liberties that our ideals and our Constitution require deserves robust debate and those who are willing to engage in it here at home.

    “… followed by locking up anyone we catch igniting robust debate by exposing this administration’s violations of those ideals and Constitution.”

    FTFY, Obama.

  20. …more than two years later.

    Thanks for the snark, Scott. I bearly even imagine the number of meetings, breakfast pastries, handshakes, and atta-boys our government officials used in coming up with this response. I’m thinking $2 million+ as a lowball line-item cost. Regardless of it’s wisdom, I’m sure It’s more money than an average hardworking man earns in a lifetime, leave aside what he could pay in federal taxes.

  21. The only reason he’s still alive is because he’s got a dead-man’s switch and it must be one helluva doozy.

    Good man, that Snowden. /nosarc

    1. I disagree.

      Its pretty obvious that we’ll missile the hell out of a BSP – even if he’s American. But droning a white dude? That’ll hit waaaay to close to home as people realize what the President means when he says he has unilateral authority to select targets with no oversight.

      1. Yes, but it’s what happens AFTER you kill him that’s the problem.

        I hate to admit this, but I don’t know what BSP means.

        1. just guessing from context that it means brown-skinned person

          1. just guessing from context that it means brown-skinned person

            Thank you!

    2. Could be. In that scenario, he cannot give Putin the key. Snowden would be worthless after. I doubt Snowden had a chess-game intellect when he spilled the beans, but he does now.

      1. In that scenario, he cannot give Putin the key.

        Nope, which is why I do kind of wonder why Putin’s letting him hang out, unless it’s just bragging rights, which Putin does not seem to be above. Or he thinks he can wear Snowden down. Or as a future bargaining chip, but Putin doesn’t bargain, either.

        I doubt Snowden had a chess-game intellect when he spilled the beans, but he does now.

        I totally agree, but even where he was then, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have had enough foresight to set aside damning enough information to keep himself alive.

        I have also frequently wondered if he expected/expects to be killed at some point in a relatively near future and was willing to do that.

        1. Yes, Snowden did have the foresight to get immediately out or the way of the oncoming truck. He’s a sharp cookie. He may not be another Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, OTOH, but he might be easier to read.

          Snowden will be remembered.

  22. accept the consequences of his actions.

    And how many public officials are in prison over this?

    Fuck them all with a wood chipper!

  23. Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

    Ahhh, so the people breaking the law while running that security apparatus – they’re all cool.

    After all, the security of the country isn’t being undermined if the country doesn’t *know* its being undermined. Right, Mike Rogers?

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/gop…..-violated/

    I mean, its wasn’t the security services *leadership* putting those people in danger through their illegal actions, it was *one* guy who told people about the danger the security leadersip was putting its people in that is the real problem.

  24. How’s about a deal, President Obama. If James Clapper is prosecuted for lying to Congress, Snowden will come back and take the same deal that you gave General Petraeus for leaking classified info.

  25. I wonder why, once out of the US, why he would want to come back? There seems to be less and less reason for truth-tellers to want to come to, come back to, or stay. I don’t think he wants to, in any case. He was headed for freer countries when he left.

    Montana and New Mexico and a few other states appear to give some hope of future human rights protection.

    However, the Passport Law just passed is intended to make virtual prisoners of anyone to speaks out just a little too much a little too often. On top of that, you’ve got Wesley Clarke talking detention camps for dissenters, obviously without trial, by justifying the internment camps of WWII.

    I doubt that a government who can’t stop the 3 digit spy agencies, as any serious notion of protecting the laws of various states unless it works to the why of their agenda.

    Stay away Mr. Snowden. You’ve done more than enough. Enjoy the balance of your life in a free(r) country.

  26. No slack for Snowden. No effort or even thought given to the hostages Iran is holding. Iran gets a sweetheart deal.

    We get this:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-…..1437766957

    The last time we had hostages in Iran we also had a proggie POS in the Oval Office. Iran repeatedly told us to go fuck ourselves. The instant Reagan was elected those hostages were on a plane home.

    Most of the time things really are just what they appear to be.

  27. By all means, let Snowden come home and face trial by a jury of his peers. Does anyone actually believe that’s what will happen to him?

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