Soon after National Security Agency surveillance program whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed his identity Sunday, a White House petition calling for his pardon was created online.
“Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a (sic) full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs,” the petition posted Sunday at the White House’s “We the People” platform reads.
Snowden, a 29-year-old former CIA technical assistant and Booz Allen employee, revealed Sunday in The Guardian that he is the individual responsible for leaking details about the NSA’s surveillance programs.
While Snowden has yet to be charged with a crime, at least two lawmakers have already called for his prosecution.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein both said Sunday that the person or people responsible for the leaked NSA information should be prosecuted.
“I absolutely think they should be prosecuted,” Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said on ABC News’ “This Week.” Feinstein, a Democrat from California who appeared on the show alongside Rogers, concurred.
The petition needs 100,000 signatures by July 9 in order to require the White House to issue a response. At time of publication, the petition had over 2,800 signatures.
The Obama administration established the petition system in September 2011 as a way to give “all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.”
In a Q&A with The Guardian about his decision to come forward, Snowden answered a question about whether he believed what he did was a crime.
“We have seen enough criminality on the part of government,” Snowden responded. “It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”
Update 11:42 am: Before noon on Monday the number of signatures on the petition had reached over 14,300 and was continuing to climb.