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Two Years Later, White House Responds To 'Pardon Edward Snowden' Petition 608

An anonymous reader writes: In June of 2013, a petition was posted to Whitehouse.gov demanding that Edward Snowden receive a full pardon for his leaks about the NSA and U.S. surveillance practices. The petition swiftly passed 100,000 signatures — the point at which the White House said it would officially respond to such petitions. For two years, the administration was silent, but now they've finally responded. In short: No, Edward Snowden won't be receiving a pardon.

Lisa Monaco, the President's Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said, "Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it. If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."
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Two Years Later, White House Responds To 'Pardon Edward Snowden' Petition

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  • Yeah, be a man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:14PM (#50198007)
    Let us kill you.
  • Alrighty then, will John Corzine receive an indictment? I think we all know the answer.

  • Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:15PM (#50198013)

    He embarrassed us and we want to punish him so nobody else tries to do this in the future.

    • Re:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @03:02PM (#50198461)

      And also, from TFA:

      If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and â" importantly â" accept the consequences of his actions.

      He IS dealing with the consequences. That's why he left.

      What Lisa Monaco is pushing for is martyrdom.

      We are supposed to be a country of laws. We should not have officials demanding martyrdom of those who oppose their policies.

      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @03:14PM (#50198605) Journal

        More importantly, the message here is that being right doesn't matter; being good and obedient preserves you, while being right only makes you a martyr. If you expose the corruption of those in power, that's well and good, and a great civil duty; however, you must understand that you will be punished.

        The implication is that, civil duty or not, you should think long and hard about pitching your own skin into the cause, because we sure as hell aren't going to reward you just for doing a great service to humanity. Read carefully and you'll notice the government said he'd even have to accept the consequences of speaking out and engaging in constructive protest: they decree you can dissent against their rule, and that's well and good, as long as they can punish you for your dissent--which is precisely the situation in North Korea, where you may speak out against Kim Jong-Un, and, importantly, accept the consequences of speaking out against him.

        • Mod parent up. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by khasim ( 1285 )

          Read carefully and you'll notice the government said he'd even have to accept the consequences of speaking out and engaging in constructive protest: they decree you can dissent against their rule, and that's well and good, as long as they can punish you for your dissent--which is precisely the situation in North Korea, where you may speak out against Kim Jong-Un, and, importantly, accept the consequences of speaking out against him.

          Exactly.

          If the end result of civil disobedience is the exact same in the USo

          • by mccrew ( 62494 )

            The politicians demanding martyrdom would be just as comfortable working for North Korea's government as they are working for the USofA's government.

            And THAT is a very big problem.

            <head nods> As the saying goes, when fascism comes to the USA, it'll march down main street wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible.

  • Double standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:16PM (#50198017)

    The government is running away from the consequences of their actions

    When people like Keith Alexander and James R Clapper can get away with lying before congress, before the courts, there is a problem.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:17PM (#50198025) Homepage

    "We don't do pardons", followed by an appeal to patriotism (ie. if you don't agree with our decisions then you're a pinko commie)

    Film at 11.

    • by QuadEddie ( 459328 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:44PM (#50198307)
      But they do pardons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. A group of those guys set off 120 bombs in major US cities. Snowden would be treated harsher than those terrorists.
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:17PM (#50198031) Homepage

    My e-mail response this morning from info@mail.whitehouse.gov regarding the Snowden pardon petition: "We live in a dangerous world. We continue to face grave security threats like terrorism, cyber-attacks, and nuclear proliferation that our intelligence community must have all the lawful tools it needs to address."

    You mean in addition to the unlawful ones?

    • by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:28PM (#50198153)

      its not unlawful if the president does it.

    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @06:57PM (#50200359)

      This is the part that really rubbed me the wrong way:

      Since taking office, President Obama has worked with Congress to secure appropriate reforms that balance the protection of civil liberties with the ability of national security professionals to secure information vital to keep Americans safe.

      As the President said in announcing recent intelligence reforms, "We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require."

      Here are some of the things Obama said prior to becoming president. This was in 2006:

      We need to find a way forward to make sure that we can stop terrorists while protecting the privacy, and liberty, of innocent Americans. ... As a nation we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power. What protects us, and what distinguishes us, are the procedures we put in place to protect that balance, namely judicial warrants and congressional review. ... These are concrete safeguards to make sure surveillance hasn’t gone too far.

      He said this during his campaign:

      strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy

      He said this while campaigning in 2007:

      I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient

      After he critiqued:

      the Bush administration's initial policy on warrantless wiretaps because it crossed the line between protecting our national security and eroding the civil liberties of American citizens

      He promised to:

      update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability to the congressional intelligence committees to prevent future threats to the rule of law

      He also said he would review the Patriot Act to make sure that necessary protections for constitutional rights were in place.

      So, what did he do when he got elected? He renewed the Patriot Act, and didn't do shit about any constitutional overstep until just recently when Rand Paul blocked another renewal of the Patriot Act, and now the White House has the balls to trot out that woman saying what I quoted above, how the president is working sooooo hard on reforms to protect our rights. Yeah, right. This petition hit its mark 2 years ago, why the response now? Because of the actions by Paul and others (most definitely with a massive assist from Snowden) to actually get some sort of dialog going on reforms, and now the White House is trying to take credit for everything. They waited this long to respond to the petition because they had shit to say about it until someone who is not even in the president's party finally gets the ball rolling and they can start taking credit for reforms. It's hollow bullshit. Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain. This petition response is hollow, it's as hollow as the campaign promises which got me to naively vote for Obama for his first term, and his complete and utter failure to meet any of them is why I didn't vote for him in his second term, so they don't get to claim any sort of high ground on this issue. They did not want these reforms, they were dragged there kicking and screaming the entire way ever since Snowden boarded his

  • Jury Nullification (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:19PM (#50198045)
    ...is Snowden's only hope is he returns to face the music.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    • How did I manage to get a typo in such a short post? :)
    • When I read "nullification" I think of deaths in Tron...

    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @03:09PM (#50198543)

      and in most of the US, its borderline illegal to even MENTION JN in court. judges will kick you out, lock you up, threaten you, try to scare you. voire dire does all it can to try to reject jurors that even KNOW what JN is. and if you tell them during VD that you don't know what JN is and then later, they find out you do, you are in contempt.

      its all neatly stacked up so that your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS are not vocalized or listed or communicated to you.

      "nice liberty you got there; would be a shame if something were to happen to it"

  • by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:19PM (#50198049)

    He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions.

    I received the email about whitehouse.gov's response and, to my mind, Monaco's statement doesn't veer one degree from goal of punishing Snowden as an warning to others, rather than protecting him as a whistleblower.

    When Monaco and the rest of the Whitehouse talk about "hid[ing] behind the cover of an authoritarian regime" they all should look in the mirror.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:23PM (#50198085) Journal
    Did Snowden do something that needed to be done? Yes. Did he essentially end his own life in the process? Yes. Does anyone actually believe that he thought there would be any other outcome from his actions, or that he wouldn't have a price on his head for the rest of his life? Not if you have at least two working brain cells, you don't. You could have had a hundred million signatures on that petition, and it wouldn't matter, because pardoning him would set a dangerous precedent, essentially declaring open season on any and all State secrets that anyone with access thought should be revealed. You can't even blame Obama for any of this in this case; any head of any government would say 'no' for the same reasons.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:30PM (#50198175)

      actually " a hundred million signatures" would change the conversation entirely.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:35PM (#50198227)

      You could have had a hundred million signatures on that petition, and it wouldn't matter, because pardoning him would set a dangerous precedent, essentially declaring open season on any and all State secrets that anyone with access thought should be revealed. You can't even blame Obama for any of this in this case; any head of any government would say 'no' for the same reasons.

      I absolutely can blame Obama and Bush. The government was breaking the law and violating the constitutional rights of its citizens. I'm not surprised at the response but that doesn't mean it is acceptable. Remember this is the same government that has recently used torture, held people without charge or trial, invaded two countries, spied on its own citizens, put digital strip search machines in airports, and on and on.

      And it wouldn't set a "dangerous precedent" because this isn't the first time [wikipedia.org] something like this has happened. The only dangerous precedent is if we don't hold the government accountable.

      • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:54PM (#50198375) Journal
        You're misreading what I wrote, so let me say it again a little differently: No government anywhere anytime is going to openly condone the things that Snowden did. You're also missing out where I said what he did needed to be done, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be villified by the government for doing it. For all we know, Obama and any number of other people in our government are happy he did what he did and is now taking the heat for it (for the rest of his life) because it relieved them of the burden of wanting to do it themselves if they also knew about these things but were (understandably) too chicken to do it themselves. However, again: no government is going to officially, publicly condone such a thing being done. It would be utter chaos if they did.
    • You exaggerate quite a bit. Courts have actually declared the government's spying illegal based on Snowden revelations. Those arguments are continuing and in higher courts but the point is, it goes well beyond some guy thought maybe some secret should be revealed.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Because avoiding the hang mans noose by virtue of gaining massive public support for your actions and getting clemency that is ultimately dependant on the whim of one man is

      declaring open season on any and all State secrets that anyone with access thought should be revealed"

      That assertion is ridiculous!

      I don't think it in anyway would cause future leakers/whistle-blowers to expect similar outcomes. It might give them a ray of hope but that is about it. Lets face it the American public has actually shown themselves to be rather discerning on this issue. Snowden's actions are viewed very much more favorab

  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:24PM (#50198095)

    Edward Snowden has done more for the public good than Lisa Monaco ever has. In her mind, Ed is already guilty and should come home to be railroaded and disappeared by the government's security apparatus. Of course, I don't know how she expect him to come home with a revoked passport.

  • Lisa Monaco is a cluleless moron.

    >> "he should ... Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and â" importantly â" accept the consequences of his actions"

    Read: he should point out our faults then just let us take whatever revenge we feel like.

    She is a total moron. How do such people ever get such responsible jobs?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:26PM (#50198123)

    Give him the Peace Prize and lets see if we would jail a Nobel Laureate

  • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:28PM (#50198147)
    When has a petition that garnered enough signtures not been met with the response: "Fuck you, we're not going to change"?
  • They are fools (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:28PM (#50198149) Homepage
    The question is not right vs wrong, but instead who benefits and who suffers.

    The United States and the Obama administration are the ones that suffer from having an American claim Asylum in Russia. Right now, Russia benefits from the situation more than anyone else. Snowden himself suffers minor inconveniences relating mainly to lifestyle and the ability to see friends and family.

    A Snowden Pardon will not in any way encourage people to do what he did. He did what he did out of patriotism - though some may consider it misguided. Martyrs - whether they are heros or villains - do not concern themselves with such minor punishments.

    Such a pardon would benefit everyone except Russia. Russia would lose a major political/moral chip (Look we protect an American from the evil USA - wait a second, where did he go?).

  • "Jury of peers" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squisher ( 212661 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:29PM (#50198159)

    Snowden has actually said he would go before a jury of peers, in an open trial. The problem is that he faces a military trial, behind closed doors, with no actual representation. So this public statement really is a huge farce.

    • Re:"Jury of peers" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:50PM (#50198349)

      Snowden has actually said he would go before a jury of peers, in an open trial. The problem is that he faces a military trial, behind closed doors, with no actual representation. So this public statement really is a huge farce.

      Unless Snowden was IN the military or in military custody outside the USA, he does not face a military trial. Once his feet hit US soil, he will have a criminal trial just like anybody else.

      The Trial may closed for national security reasons, but until a judge says that's what will happen nobody knows if the trial would be public or not. However, I don't think the government would care either way. They might want to keep some of the evidence out of the public domain, but what point is there to trying to force a secret trial now? They have him dead to rights in the public domain on this already..

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:40PM (#50198273) Journal

    What the administration should do in Snowden's case is drop all charges, officially exonerate him, and ask for his cooperation in investigating and prosecuting the crimes that he made us all aware of.

    -jcr

  • Fuck you, Lisa. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @02:42PM (#50198291) Journal

    Snowden is a hero, and you're minion.

    -jcr

  • by genner ( 694963 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @03:07PM (#50198531)
    No Mr President you're the one running away from the consequences of his actions.
  • Okay, I'll bite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @03:47PM (#50198987) Homepage

    "Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country..."

    Here it is, put up or shut up: name one single way that I personally am less "secure" due to Snowden's actions.

    That's it. One single example.

    Either that, or quit pushing this bullshit.

  • by adoarns ( 718596 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @04:13PM (#50199249) Homepage Journal

    ...ought not to be defined by the government against which it is wielded.

  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2015 @04:25PM (#50199407)

    He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions.

    Or he could be pardoned...

    The "He should face the consequences of his actions" argument can be used for any crime. The request for a pardon is a specific request that someone *not* face the consequences of their actions, or more accurately, that the consequences of their actions be changed to "no longer be punished".

    It's like she is not even acknowledging what is being asked for.

    It's like If I go to a car dealership and ask them if they sell any other cars besides what can be seen in the showroom, and the dealer then proceeds to list all the cars in the showroom. If he only has what is in the showroom, a better answer is "I only have what is in the showroom"

    If the don't intend to pardon Snowden, all they need to do is say "We don't intend to pardon Mr. Snowden". If everyone *always* had to "face the consequences of their actions", then pardons wouldn't even exist.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @06:47AM (#50203059)

    Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."

    Unlike James Clapper who enjoys no consequences for his actions- lying under oath to Congress.

    Two legs good, four legs bad.

    Obama's administration is going to go down in history as the one that best highlights how politically well connected players are "too big to jail" even as law enforcement became more ferocious towards the common and petty criminals.

    The entire NSA engaged in unconstitutional spying on Americans on a scale that made the event which inspired the Church Commission look pale in comparison. That is not my opinion, that is a fact established by the courts. They knowingly and deliberately destroyed evidence of torture in order to evade criminal prosecution. No banking executives were prosecuted for a criminal scam which literally brought the economy down. No banking executives were prosecuted for the near daily now criminal operations from Sinaola Mexico cartel (the video-beheading gang) drug money launderig to LIBOR rating rigging to the criminal MITM attack on the stockmarket which was the subject of the book Flashboys.

    Yeah I have mixed emotions about Snowden. But I dont' have mixed emotions about any of the trillion dollar criminals who destroyed millions and millioins of people's life savings and millions and millions of people's lives.

    So your snarky shit about facingthe consequences of your actions rigs hollow to these ears. How's Eric Holder doing these days working for the entities he declained to prosecute? You nkow, the same ones he worked for before he was AG?

    Oh, we paid all that money back, they say. Yeah? Did you go back and retoractively undestroy all the lives which were destroyed because of your actions also? Did you reset the course of all those personal histories back to what they were before they lost their jobs their homes their savings their time ?

    How is THAT REAL cost not calculated in what you did. You paid the government back the bailout money. Fuck you and the horse named the Obama Administration you rode in on.

    This from someone who cried tears of joy when this President did his inaugural walk.

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