ACLU campaign pushes Obama to pardon Snowden

A campaign to pardon Snowden launched this week.
A campaign to pardon Snowden launched this week.
Just days before Oliver Stone's “Snowden,” hits theaters nationwide, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have launched a campaign to persuade President Obama to pardon the Edward Snowden, who exposed the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of U.S. citizens.

It's time for Snowden, who is currently in exile in Russia, to receive some sort of pardon or be allowed to negotiate freedom in Europe without the fear of extradition by the U.S., Snowden attorney and Director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project Ben Wizner said during a Q&A with Stone at the Brooklyn Public Library after a pre-screening of the film and a preview of the campaign.

Although the whistleblower has been criticized for leaking confidential documents and referred to as a traitor, the ACLU and others have given him credit for creating a public debate about surveillance. “Thanks to Edward Snowden's act of conscience, we've made historic strides in our fight for surveillance reform and improved cybersecurity,” the civil rights organization's executive director, Anthony D. Romero, said in a Wednesday blog post.

The campaign has the support of more than “100 former national security officials, legal scholars, technology and business leaders, human rights activists, and artists,” including  Open Society Foundations Founder and Chairman George Soros, Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak, former REM front man Michael Stipe and former CIA Division Chief and Senior Analyst Melvin Goodman.

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