U.S. Human Rights Groups Press Obama to Grant Snowden Presidential Pardon

Posted Sept. 21, 2016

MP3 Interview with Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, conducted by Scott Harris


A campaign to persuade President Obama that he should issue a presidential pardon to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was launched to coincide with the opening of Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone’s newest biopic movie, “Snowden.” The Pardon Snowden campaign, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch among other groups, is working to convince Obama that “Snowden’s act of whistleblowing benefited the United States and enriched democratic debate worldwide.” The campaign is urging citizens to write the president and sign an online petition in support of the effort.

Among the many public figures supporting a Snowden pardon are: U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Ron Wyden, Vietnam War era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, professors Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and Lawrence Lessig, current and former government officials including Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, actor Susan Sarandon and director Terry Gilliam.

Those pressing for a pardon before President Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017 say that Snowden’s selfless act revealing unconstitutional warrantless, dragnet surveillance of all Americans communications, led to some necessary reforms and moves toward more government accountability. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, whose board Edward Snowden chairs from exile in Russia. Here, Timm talks about why he believes Snowden deserves a pardon and the need to protect whistle-blowers and the journalists who tell their stories.

Learn more about the Foundation and the Pardon Snowden campaign at pardonsnowden.org.

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