Allies of President Donald Trump — including some key members of Congress — are lobbying the president to pardon Edward Snowden, according to a Friday report.
Republicans Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz have recently been arguing that Snowden should get a pardon before Trump leaves office, according to Politico. Another reported Snowden advocate is Roger Stone, a longtime ally of the president who was a part of a wave of pardons recently issued from the White House. (RELATED: President Donald Trump Pardons Four Former Blackwater Contractors Convicted In Killings Of 14 Iraqi Civilians)
Some of Trump’s closest congressional allies are imploring the president to add one controversial name to his list of pardons: Edward Snowden https://t.co/zGceOQ3ywY
— POLITICO (@politico) December 24, 2020
Snowden leaked classified information in 2013 which revealed a mass surveillance operation being run by the NSA to track Americans, among a wide range of other figures. He also exposed former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as having lied to Congress, a point Paul is reportedly using to help make his case. Paul believes the president can be convinced in part because of his dislike of Clapper and contentious relationship with American intelligence agencies, according to Politico.
While officials like Paul and Gaetz are sympathetic to Snowden’s actions, others, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, are not. “I think he’s a traitor worthy of federal prison,” Rubio told Politico. (RELATED: Trump Didn’t Make The Pardon A Political Tool, It Always Has Been)
Critics of Snowden say some of his leaks went too far and worry he’s become too closely tied to American adversaries like China and Russia. One of his 2013 leaks revealed that the NSA had been surveilling the servers of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, and he has resided in Russia since fleeing the United States.
note: this particular leak from Snowden was something that even Greenwald said he wouldn’t have published, adding that Sno did it out of “a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.” https://t.co/GJC8oYJAI7 https://t.co/LKWWiSHl0R
— Michael B. Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) December 21, 2020
Snowden has recently spoken out to ask for a pardon for others instead of himself. Allies of Trump reportedly believe the president is open to issuing clemency to a variety of people before leaving office after he pardoned a group including former congressmen, blackwater contractors, and familial allies last week.