The Editorial Board of The New York Times, has asked that due to the "enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed," the United States should offer Mr. Snowden "a plea bargain or some form of clemency" for having done his country "a great service."
The president said in August that Mr. Snowden should come home to face those charges in court and suggested that if Mr. Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower.
If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistle-blower protection to the intelligence community for the first time, Mr. Obama said at a news conference. So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.
In fact, that executive order did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Mr. Snowden. More important, Mr. Snowden told The Washington Post earlier this month that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the N.S.A., and that they took no action.
Not everyone agrees, of course, and on Slate, Fred Kaplan explains why Mr. Snowden "went too far to be considered just a whistleblower":
If that were all that Snowden had done, if his stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the NSAs domestic surveillance, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing.
But Snowden did much more than that. The documents that he gave the Washington Posts Barton Gellman and the Guardians Glenn Greenwald have, so far, furnished stories about the NSAs interception of email traffic, mobile phone calls, and radio transmissions of Taliban fighters in Pakistans northwest territories; about an operation to gauge the loyalties of CIA recruits in Pakistan; about NSA email intercepts to assist intelligence assessments of whats going on inside Iran; about NSA surveillance of cellphone calls worldwide, an effort that (in the Posts words) allows it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect. In his first interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden revealed that the NSA routinely hacks into hundreds of computers in China and Hong Kong.
|Brent Fletcher Breaks Corkscrew Jump World Record at Hot Wheels Facility|
|Pit-In: The Bicycle Desk|
|The World's Smallest Caravan|
|Google Maps Shows You Where You'd End Up if you Tunneled Accross the Earth|
|Nevada Grants Google's Self-Driving Car a License|
|"Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business."|
|Nerf John Wick|
|“The release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|Top 10 Reasons Men Are Scum|
|“One of the major concerns with asteroid mining is, of course, getting to the asteroids.”|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|“You can make spaceships much bigger than anything we’ve seen so far in history.”|
|“That glazed-over look a grandma has at a Vegas slot machine is the same look Facebook chases in its users scrolling the feed.”|
|Loneliness is Not an Old Friend|
|“It's unbelievable how much energy is released.”|