Washington Post calls for prosecution of Snowden, who leaked docs to paper

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The Washington Post said Edward Snowden does not deserve a pardon from President Obama.

{mosads}The Post said in an editorial published Saturday the question over whether the former National Security Agency contractor deserves a presidential pardon is “complicated” but the answer should ultimately be no.

It says those who defend Snowden don’t deny he broke the law when he “copied and kept 1.5 million classified documents.”

“They argue, rather, that Mr. Snowden’s noble purposes, and the policy changes his ‘whistle-blowing’ prompted, justified his actions,” the editorial said. 

“Specifically, he made the documents public through journalists, including reporters working for The Post, enabling the American public to learn for the first time that the NSA was collecting domestic telephone ‘metadata’ — information about the time of a call and the parties to it, but not its content — en masse with no case-by-case court approval.” 
The program, the Post wrote, was a violation of federal surveillance law.

“Congress and the president eventually responded with corrective legislation. It’s fair to say we owe these necessary reforms to Mr. Snowden,” the editorial said.

“The complication is that Mr. Snowden did more than that.”

Snowden also leaked information about another NSA internet-monitoring program that was legal and not threatening people’s privacy, the Post wrote. 

“Worse — far worse — he also leaked details of basically defensible international intelligence operations: cooperation with Scandinavian services against Russia; spying on the wife of an Osama bin Laden associate; and certain offensive cyber operations in China,” the editorial said.

Snowden’s leaks disrupted “lawful intelligence-gathering” and resulted in damage to national security, the paper said.

The Post won a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for its coverage of such programs exposed by Snowden’s leaks.

The Post called for Snowden to “come home and hash out all this before a jury of his peers.”

“That would certainly be in the best tradition of civil disobedience, whose practitioners have always been willing to go to jail for their beliefs,” the Post wrote. 

“He says this is unacceptable because U.S. secrecy-protection statutes specifically prohibit him from claiming his higher purpose and positive impact as a defense — which is true, though it’s not clear how the law could allow that without creating a huge loophole for leakers.”
The Post also offered a second option: a bargain.
“Mr. Snowden accepts a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency in recognition of his contributions,” the paper wrote.
“Neither party seems interested in that for now. An outright pardon, meanwhile, would strike the wrong balance.”
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