Ron Paul, former United States senator, has started a petition to grant clemency to Edward Snowden who has been charged with espionage in the United States. Paul is hoping to get President Obama’s attention and that if the petition gets enough support his administration will grant clemency to the accused spy.
Ron Paul said on his website that he wants clemency for Snowden so he can return to the United States before his amnesty expires in Russia without fear of prosecution. He says that Snowden has performed a “courageous action” and that he should not be prosecuted for leaking the secrets of the NSA’s communication surveillance program.
Paul also said the Snowden made sacrifices, including his citizenship and freedom, to expose the “disturbing” scope of the NSA’s global “spying program” and that it’s thanks to Snowden’s “courageous acts” that Americans are now aware of the “egregious ways” their government is spying on them. Earlier this week, Rand Paul, Ron Paul’s son, filed a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration in regards to the phone-data-collection program. Rand Paul’s argument is that the collection program violates American’s constitutional rights.
Most of congress and the Obama administration have called for Snowden to be prosecuted for his crimes against the security of the United States. Snowden has temporary asylum in Moscow that will expire at the end of July of this year. Snowden is responsible for releasing over a thousand classified NSA documents using the Wiki-Leaks website. Ron Paul sees this as a heroic act and therefore thinks Edward Snowden should get clemency which spurred him to start the petition.
Paul posted a video on the Ron Paul Channel calling on his supporters to sign the petition so they can bring Snowden “safely” home to the United States. If Snowden does not leave Russia by the end of July he could face criminal extradition if apprehended by authorities. It is unclear at this time whether Russia will assist in apprehending Snowden once his amnesty expires.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been under heavy political fire since Snowden first leaked their program. The agency is facing severe criticism for what many people believe is a violation of privacy rights set forth in the constitution. The communication surveillance program allows the NSA to monitor electronic communications all over the globe without a warrant to search for possible threats to the United States national security.
Edward Snowden was the first to reveal this program to the general public on the infamous WikiLeaks website. Ever since he leaked the information Snowden has been on the run from US authorities until finding temporary asylum in Moscow. President Obama along with most of congress wants to prosecute Snowden immediately upon his re-entry to the United States for crimes against the country.
Even if Ron Paul collects enough signatures on his clemency petition for Edward Snowden it is questionable whether Obama will grant it or not. The administration has taken a lot of heat for the Snowden incident and is most likely looking for some redemption to the situation.
By Adam Stier