The Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on Saturday said he would pardon the former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview with the Texas Tribune.
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“Based on what I know about Edward Snowden, I would pardon Edward Snowden,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he is skeptical of the mass surveillance technology Snowden made public.
“I would like to see… these satellites turned away from 110 million Verizon users,” he said. “I’d like to see the satellites turned away from you and I as U.S. citizens, recognizing that there is due process out there for anyone that’s suspected of crime or harm against the rest of us.”
Snowden, who now lives in a secret location in Russia, leaked details of the classified NSA surveillance program in 2013. He is now facing charges under the Espionage Act.
The former NSA contractor and his lawyers have been trying to secure a presidential pardon from President Obama before he leaves office.
“Once the officials, who felt like they had to protect the programs, their positions, their careers, have left government and we start looking at things from a more historical perspective, it will be pretty clear that this war on whistleblowers does not serve the interests of the United States, rather it harms them,” Snowden said earlier in September.
“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists — for the exceptions.”