The White House has issued an official and resounding “no” to a pardon for rogue NSA agent Edward Snowden, two years after 167,000 US citizens filed a petition.
The White House was spurred into action after the petition seeking a pardon for Edward Snowden amassed more than 100,000 signatures and the matter was passed to Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s adviser on homeland security.
Monaco said that, instead of constructively addressing the issues of civil liberties and defending the US: “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.”
‘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’
– LISA MONACO
Monaco said that Snowden should return to the US and face the music.
“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.”
Call for robust debate
Monaco said the White House is willing to engage in a robust debate on balancing civil liberties with defending the US.
“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.
“The balance between our security and the civil liberties that our ideals and our constitution require deserves robust debate and those who are willing to engage in it here at home,” Monaco said.
Edward Snowden on cover of Wired image via Mike Mozart on Flickr/Creative Commons