Barely three days after President Donald Trump told reporters he “would take a very good look at” pardoning Edward Snowden, the Libertarian Party made a strong pitch for a complete pardon of the former government contractor who leaked classified material before fleeing to Russia in 2013.
“We believe that Edward Snowden committed no crime, but we would welcome the president pardoning Edward Snowden,” Libertarian Party Executive Director Dan Fishman told Newsmax on Monday.
Fishman added that "if it would possibly persuade the president, we would add that pardoning Snowden would be among the greatest deeds any president has ever done to strengthen the country."
In contrast to the several members of the House Armed Services Committee who warned Trump on Monday not to pardon the former government contractor, Fishman said that “Edward Snowden is the definition of a patriot. We encourage everyone not familiar with his story to see the movie ‘Citizenfour’ and to understand the critical role the independent press and responsible citizens working together play in our democracy.”
"Citizenfour" is a 2013 independent movie in which filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill interview an anonymous figure about what he considers illegal spying by U.S. intelligence agencies. The figure later reveals himself to be Snowden, who was filmed in a Hong Kong hotel room before going into exile in Russia.
The pardoning of Snowden has been called for by several Libertarian leaders, notably past Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Former Texas Rep. and 1988 Libertarian presidential nominee Ron Paul has long hailed Snowden as a "hero."
Snowden, who reportedly made $1.2 million in speaking fees during his seven-year exile in Russia, would face criminal charges for leaking classified government documents if he returned to the U.S.
For years before his election as president, Trump referred to Snowden as a "traitor" and a "spy who should be executed."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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