Well…the good news is the White House finally responded to the We the People petition to pardon Edward Snowden.
The bad news is the response, 2 years later 1, was an easy-to-predict non-answer.
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.
Seriously? The White House is attempting to take credit for the reforms enacted only because of the docs Snowden made public? That’s some chutzpah, right there.
Instead of constructively addressing these issues, 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.
Snowden’s thought process must have run along these lines: “Sure, I’ll run and blow the whistle on the NSA. After all Obama has said he would protect whistle-blowers…uh. Wait…” And then he reasonably decided that the NSA and the Obama administration would make garters out of his guts so he left the country.
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.
So…let us be clear here: the White House is saying that civil disobedience is only legitimate if one is jailed afterward? And the whole trial notion is nothing but misdirection in any event: under the Espionage Act Snowden would not be allowed to present as evidence in his defense that he was blowing the whistle on an illegal program. 2 Any such trial would be a farce, a Westernized kabuki with a predetermined outcome.
In essence, what the White House is saying is not just Hell, no!, it won’t pardon Edward Snowden, but all you other whistleblower-wannabes out there? Yeah, that’s right, I’m looking 3 at you.