National Security Agent contractor Edward Snowden’s request for clemency has been rejected by the White House and the leaders of the United States Congress’ intelligence committees, according to a Yahoo! News report on Monday.
Snowden, the United States fugitive who has temporarily obtained asylum in Russia, has not met the powers-that-be in the United States with acceptance whatsoever. According to Dan Pfeiffer – a White House adviser – Snowden violated United States’ law and should be returned to the United States to face justice.
The contractor-turned-whistleblower wrote his plea for clemency in a letter that was given to a German politician and then released on Friday. Snowden asserted in his one-page type-written letter that “speaking the truth is not a crime.” The letter requests clemency for charges against him over allegedly leaking classified NSA information to news outlets.
Snowden’s findings allege that the United States government has spied on the country’s allies. Most notably, Snowden’s information which alleges that Angela Merkel – the Chancellor of Germany – was spied on has been met with enormous negativity. That allegation alone has caused many to call for the United States to stop spying and to have Congress overhaul the country’s surveillance laws and decrease the NSA’s powers.
Some political leaders are saying that Snowden took the wrong avenue to report his concerns about the NSA. Dianne Feinstein, a senator from California, said that Snowden has done an enormous disservice to the United States, and she believes that there should be no clemency for him.
Likewise, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers called the notion of clemency for Snowden to be a terrible idea. He said that Snowden needs to come back to the United States and own up to what he’s done. Furthermore, Rogers said that if Snowden believes there are vulnerabilities in the systems he’d like to disclose, he shouldn’t have done it by committing a crime that puts soldiers’ lives at risk in places like Afghanistan.
While the politicians said they don’t believe President Barack Obama knew about the listening-in on Merkel’s telephone calls, they indicated that they weren’t positive he didn’t know either. Mike Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director would only say that it is possible that the president didn’t know. Additionally, he said that it was impossible for Obama’s top staffers not to be aware of it.
Clemency is defined as meriful or kind treatment of someone who could be given harsh punishment.
Hayden, Rogers, and Feinstein spoke about the issues related to the NSA and Snowden on the Sunday political news program, “Face the Nation” on CBS. Pfeiffer spoke on “This Week” on ABC.