Pardon Edward Snowden

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Mr. President:

We ask that you pardon Edward Snowden.

There is no question that the NSA was breaking the law in the surveillance of Americans without a warrant even though the Patriot Act provided it with a secret court, a secretive process to obtain a warrant and reduced the grounds to mere suspicion. The Second District Court Appeals so found (ACLU v. Clapper (Docket No. 14‐42‐cv).

There is no question that in 1976 Congress established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to ensure that the intelligence community was not using its surveillance powers on American citizens without warrants.

 There is no question that the director of the NSA, retired three-star General Keith Alexander, lied under oath before that Committee when he denied that the NSA was engaged in surveillance of Americans without a warrant. The government has tacitly approved of his lying under oath because he did not receive any punishment for what we who have signed below consider a grave offence.

There is no question that General James Clapper, head of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the department entrusted with supervising the NSA, told the same lie under oath before that Senate Committee. The government has tacitly approved of his lying under oath because he did not receive any punishment for what we who have signed below consider a grave offence.

There is no question that Mr. Snowden would not have received any protection if he had made a complaint under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act passed in 1998. It was carefully crafted to apply only to matters of 'urgent concern' but not to daily matters. It also provides no protection against retaliation or against any form of criminal prosecution if the complaint is leaked to the Department of Justice. Most likely, the NSA would have suppressed the complaint.

 There is no question that the NSA has, in the past, broken the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act by leaking details of the complaint by Thomas Drake and three others to the FBI for prosecution. The government dropped all 10 original serious charges on the eve of trial, but, although innocent, Drake was ruined career wise and now works at a low-level retail position.

There is no question that the NSA was already intending to use its mass surveillance data to influence the political process as the FBI had done, for example, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Snowden said his team was given the names of seven people, who were not related to any terrorist activity, and told to see if there was any evidence of their visiting porno sites. Given that the military is usually very conservative, that type of evidence will be used against the future political candidates who hold your values, Mr. President.

There is also no question that Mr. Snowden acted as responsibly as possible in the situation given that he did not provide the data to WikiLeaks but to responsible journalists for vetting before release.

Finally, there is no question that if Mr. Snowden returns to the U.S., He cannot get a fair trial. He will be charged under The Espionage Act of 1917,  an archaic Act which does not provide any whistleblower defence. The only person who can help Mr Snowden avoid a serious prison term for his act of courage and personal sacrifice to the benefit of the American people is yourself, Mr. President.

 

For the sake of the future of the Republic and its foundation principle, the Rule of Law, please pardon Edward Snowden.

 

Thank you Mr. President!



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