“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’, hw was also defying the usurpations of an increasingly intrusive government. Mr. Obama should therefore call off the campaign to apprehend him and offer Mr. Snowden a pardon instead.” Stephen Walt*, ‘Snowden deserves an immediate presidential pardon’, Financial Times, July 9, 2013
“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….Once a secret surveillance system exists, it is only a matter of time before someone abuses it for selfish ends. Richard Nixon kept his own ‘enemies list’ and used the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on american citizens. Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, J. Edgar Hoover, helped keep himself in office by collecting dirt on officials.” Stephen Walt*,ibid.
“Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush pardoned the officials who conducted the illegal Iran-Contra affair, and Mr. Obama has already pardoned several convicted embezzlers and drug dealers. Surely Mr Snowden is as deserving of mercy as these miscreants. Pardoning him would also show that Mr. Obama’s rhetorical commitment to ‘We the People’, and to open and transparent government, is not just empty words.” Stephen Walt*, ibid.
* Stephen Walt is Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University