Contrary to some recent reports, the White House is not softening on Snowden.On Tuesday, the administration responded to a "We the People" petition asking for clemency for Edward Snowden. The White House's reply (which was, unsurprisingly, a "no") slammed Snowden’s “dangerous decision” to “steal” information, and accused him of “running away from the consequences of his actions.”
As the President said in announcing recent intelligence reforms, "We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require." Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it. If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and -- importantly -- accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers -- not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions.
The statement, written by Homeland Security and Counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, concludes with a series of platitudes about how we “live in a dangerous world” and “The balance between our security and the civil liberties that our ideals and our Constitution require deserves robust debate.”
The pro-Snowden petition received nearly 168,000 signatures, while the White House has promised to respond to any "We the People" petition that gets over 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
"Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a 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," it read.