Obama suggests Snowden pardon unlikely

Obama suggests Snowden pardon unlikely
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President Obama will not say whether he would pardon former government contractor Edward Snowden for leaking classified information about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs, but has indicated it’s unlikely. 
 
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“I can't pardon somebody who hasn't gone before a court and presented themselves, so that's not something that I would comment on at this point,” Obama said in an interview published Friday with German magazine Der Spiegel and public broadcaster ARD. 
 
Obama said, however, that Snowden “raised some legitimate concerns” with the way he revealed the controversial NSA programs.
 
“How he did it was something that did not follow the procedures and practices of our intelligence community,” the president said. 
 
“If everybody took the approach that I make my own decisions about these issues, then it would be very hard to have an organized government or any kind of national security system."
 
The president suggested that would be a strike against Snowden if he formally requests relief from the Justice Department’s Office of Pardon Attorney.  
 
“At the point at which Mr. Snowden wants to present himself before the legal authorities and make his arguments or have his lawyers make his arguments, then I think those issues come into play,” Obama said. 
 
The comments are the Obama’s first since Snowden asked for a presidential pardon in September. 
 
Snowden argues his leak of tens of thousands of pages of classified NSA documents ultimately benefited the public. 
 
“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists — for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things,” he said in an interview with The Guardian
 
Obama has come under pressure from some civil liberties groups to grant a pardon to Snowden before he leaves office in January.  
 
The former contractor, who’s faced an espionage charge in the U.S. since 2013, is living in Russia under temporary asylum.