Human rights organizations from all over the world have flooded American President Barrack Obama’s office with more than a million signatures asking the president to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden, former employee of the NSA in the U.S., copied and leaked classified information from the agency, disclosing illegal mass surveillance on Americans.
The pardon request comes at a vital time in U.S. political history as President Obama has just a week left to use his presidential powers before Donald Trump, swears in as President on Jan. 20, 2017.
Earlier in 2013, Trump had expressed his views on the NSA whistleblower and had suggested having Snowden executed for going against the agency.
Human rights group including American Civil Liberties, Human Rights Watch and Union Amnesty International started the Pardon Snowden Campaign and collected 1.1 million signatures from 110 countries.
Snowden, who has been staying in an undisclosed location in Russia since 2013, expressed on Twitter that he has no words for such a remarkable gesture, shown towards him by people from all over the world..
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 13, 2017
The Pardon Snowden Campaign was started in September 2016 by Snowden’s attorney Ben Wizner and other private activists. Snowden leaked classified NSA documents stating several warrantless mass surveillance programs run by the U.S. and its allies.
The leak started a heated debate in the U.S. on privacy and Internet surveillance and also led to certain reforms in U.S. policies. The signatures were accompanied by a letter which also states the reforms and actions taken following Snowden’s admissions.
“Since Snowden acted, all three branches of the U.S. government have worked to rein in the NSA’s powers. Technology companies have increased their use of encryption. The United Nations appointed a first-ever privacy watchdog. These are but a few examples of the reforms triggered by Snowden.” says the pardon request letter.
The pardon request letter addressed to President Obama was signed by Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union; Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch.
Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum in 2013 after he applied to 21 countries for political refuge. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged him with violation the espionage act of 1917 and theft of classified government property.
Edward Snowden And His Acts Of Espionage
Edward Snowden, a previous employee of Dell and CIA, was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton, a NSA Contractor. He leaked confidential NSA documents, which he had copied during his employment with the NSA, to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitra and Guardian Columnist Gleen Greewald.
Snowden has been called a hero, whistleblower, traitor and a dissident by various people. What do you think he is? Let us know in the comments section below.
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