Edward Snowden won’t get clemency from the United States, despite a plea he issued in a letter given to a German politician and released on Friday.
In his one-page letter, Snowden asked for clemency on charges for allegedly leaking classified information about the NSA to the media. He explained, “Speaking the truth is not a crime.”
However, the White House and the leaders of the intelligence committee in Congress disagree. ABC News reports that White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer commented, “Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law… He should return to the U.S. and face justice.”
Snowden’s revelations included allegations that the United States eavesdropped on several allied countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as spying on American citizens by the NSA. The revelations resulted in allies calling US ambassadors to answer to the allegations.
MSN News notes that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that Edward Snowden isn’t a true whistleblower, because he didn’t report the information he had to her committee privately. Feinstein added:
“That didn’t happen, and now he’s done this enormous disservice to our country. I think the answer is no clemency.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, agreed with Feinstein, calling clemency for Edward Snowden a “terrible idea.” He added that Snowden “needs to come back and own up. If he believes there’s vulnerabilities in the systems he’d like to disclose, you don’t do it by committing a crime that actually puts soldiers’ lives at risk in places like Afghanistan.”
Rogers added that, to his knowledge, Snowden’s revelations caused three terrorist organizations to change how they communicate. Feinstein added that she hopes to conduct a review of all intelligence programs to see if they go too far. She explained, “Where allies are close, tapping private phones of theirs… has much more political liability than probably intelligence liability.”
Edward Snowden may not get clemency from the United States, but he was granted a one-year asylum in Russia.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]