Edward Snowden is the former NSA employee who blew the whistle on the widespread PRISM spy program that his agency had been running. Now he’s facing espionage charges, and a petition asking for his pardoning has reached enough signatures that the White House must respond to it.
The arguably coolest feature of the White House website is the online petition page, wherein anyone can start or sign a petition which the government must respond to if it passes 100,000 votes. You can usually find some petitions for the President to resign and a few stranger ones started by insane people, but once in a while there comes a petition of actual value and importance: There is a petition running at the moment to pardon former NSA agent Edward Snowden of all crimes he has committed as a result of blowing the whistle on the NSA’s PRISM spy program.
Just one day after Snowden was charged with two counts of espionage, that petition passed 100,000 signatures, forcing an actual response form the White House. Snowden is currently in Hong Kong, and is being charged with “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person”. Snowden has gone on record to say that he considered leaking information in the past, but that he held off after President Obama was elected, believing a reform to the NSA’s policies might come.
Most likely, the petition will have zero effect on Snowden’s case, but at least the White House will have to spend some time trying to figure out an excuse to give us.