Edward Snowden is the whistleblower at the center of the largest data leak in US history. This exposed the state of mass surveillance that was taking place in America. He is currently living in asylum in Russia, and has been there for the past three years. The question of a pardon is becoming more urgent for him as his Russian residency permit expires next year.
Snowden is looking for President Obama to grant him a pardon, and with his final term coming to a close, it could be his best chance. It would not appear that the likelihood of a pardon would increase with either Trump or Hillary being elected president.
Director Oliver Stone’s movie Snowden is being released on Friday, September 16. This will likely bring more attention to his cause, and shed more light on what actually occurred. Mr. Stone has made calls for Obama to grant Snowden the pardon as well.
Regarding his circumstances Snowden stated in an interview with The Guardian:
There are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things,
- Edward Snowden, interview with The Guardian
While Snowden did break the law, there is no doubt it was under exceptional circumstances. Whether it is worthy of a presidential pardon remains to be seen, but with Election Day drawing nearer Obama might be his best shot.