A petition begun June 9 at President Barack Obama’s “We The People” White House petition website calling for the pardon of Edward Snowden has crossed the 100,000-signature threshold needed in order to elicit an official response.
As of Monday afternoon, the petition had exceeded 113,000 signatures. It calls Snowden a “national hero” and commends him for shining a light on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) furtive spying programs he observed as a former contractor:
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Pardon Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.
We The People has been active since Obama launched the site in 2011 as a high-profile effort to demonstrate his Administration’s commitment to transparency and accessibility. But scandals involving the National Security Agency, The Associates Press and the Internal Revenue Service have damaged whatever goodwill the President may have created with the American public in his bid to appear trustworthy. And in order to open or sign a petition, users must create an account at whitehouse.gov that links them to the site.
In Snowden’s case, the Administration wouldn’t be breaking precedent if there’s no response, despite the petition for his pardon meeting requirements Obama himself help put in place. Successful petitions for the President to intervene amid ongoing investigations of other criminal suspects like Chris Williams, who allegedly violated the law by growing medical marijuana, have been met with silence.