National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden acknowledged in an interview broadcast Monday that a pardon from President Obama before he leaves office in January is unlikely. 

{mosads}“Well, I’m not counting on it,” Snowden said in an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric. 

Snowden, who is living in Russia to avoid standing trial in the U.S., has asked Obama for a pardon, arguing that his disclosure of classified information about U.S. and British surveillance programs benefited the public.

Asked what he would say to Obama if given the chance, he replied: “I would respectfully say to the president, ‘I understand you have an incredibly difficult job.’ No one wants to be a whistleblower. This is something that’s hard to do. It’s hard enough to stand up to a bully in your life, to your boss in the office, much less the combined might of the National Security Agency, the FBI and, you know, the apparatus of government.”

In 2013, Snowden leaked a trove of classified documents about top-secret surveillance programs to journalists.

The Obama administration charged Snowden with three felonies and has called on him to return to the U.S. to face trial. 

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have lobbied Obama for a pardon, calling Snowden a “hero.”

But Obama has suggested a pardon is unlikely. 

“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 last month.  


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