Politics | August 15, 2020 6:49 pm

Speculation Grows Around Potential Edward Snowden Pardon

The whistleblower has lived in Russia since 2018

Edward Snowden in 2014
Edward Snowden at an event in 2014.
Michael F. Mehnert/Creative Commons

The last time controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden made headlines, it was last year. His memoir had recently been published, and Snowden faced a lawsuit from the Department of Justice over information contained within. At issue was whether he had a responsibility to have multiple governmental agencies review the manuscript — an argument made more complex by the fact that Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013.

Is it possible that Snowden’s status as a fugitive might be nearing its end? A new report from The Guardian suggests that might be the case. The article, by Joanna Walters, notes that Donald Trump recently made positive comments about Snowden in an interview. Could that lead to a pardon for Snowden? It’s certainly indicative of how a number of observers of Snowden’s case have reacted.

Trump’s comments came in an interview with The New York Post, as Walters writes:

“There are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly. I mean, I hear that,” Trump told the newspaper.

He added: “Many people are on his side, I will say that. I don’t know him, never met him. But many people are on his side.”

A visit to Snowden’s Twitter page reveals an abundance of support for such a pardon, with enthusiastic tweets coming from sources including the ACLU, Reason magazine, and a host of politicians of varying ideologies.

Trump’s own position on Snowden has shifted considerably over time; in 2013, he called for Snowden to be executed in a series of tweets. And while the majority of the high-profile pardons he’s issued have benefited his own political allies, Trump has made some unexpected moves there as well, including pardoning boxer Jack Johnson in 2018. Could a Snowden pardon be in the cards? It certainly seems possible.

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