Harvard professor Stephen Walt has called upon President Obama to grant Edward Snowden an immediate presidential pardon.
His call, published in the Financial Times, begins thusly:
In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama called upon “We, the People” to preserve America’s ideals of individual freedom and equality. When Edward Snowden disclosed the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes, he was rising to this challenge. Like the nation’s “founding fathers”, he was also defying the usurpations of an increasingly intrusive government.Walt goes on to argue, correctly, that Snowden – acting as a whistleblower – was not motivated by a desire to harm our national security, which is why none of his disclosures have done so.
Instead, Snowden's motivation has been one the 'founding fathers' would find honorable: to expose and resist a government abusing its vast and, in this case, secret powers:
Mr Snowden’s motives were laudable: he believed fellow citizens should know their government was conducting a secret surveillance programme enormous in scope, poorly supervised and possibly unconstitutional. He was right.While Walt's perspective is hardly unique, the echo of his call is important to hear as mainstream outlets in our country continue to function as mouthpieces of the administration, casting aspersions upon Snowden as though he were truly an enemy of the state.
Walt is not alone in his call for Snowden to be granted an immediate presidential pardon. A White House petition calling upon the President to pardon Snowden passed the 100,000 signature threshold shortly after being created – a threshold that is supposed to trigger an automatic response from the White House.
No response has yet been made.
With the U.S. government currently threatening Latin American countries which are considering granting Snowden asylum, and with the Obama administration's already established war on whistleblowers, a presidential pardon is not likely on the horizon.
Walt knows this. We all do.
However, that should not stop us, as citizens, from addressing this grievance as the international community joins in, expressing further grievances. For as the White House petition site states, the right "to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."
After all, on that very same site, the White House promotes the following quote from Obama:
My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and efffectiveness in government.Snowden has merely hastened the execution of this commitment, this promise. He has merely made it more of a reality.
The quotes in this title are meant to reflect the title for Walt's piece, which requires an account (free) in order to view. Hence this post.