September 14, 2016 12:44 pm
Updated: September 14, 2016 1:19 pm

Edward Snowden launches campaign for presidential pardon; likely to be rejected by Obama

WATCH ABOVE: Snowden says he wants to return to US but Espionage Act not fair; asks Obama for pardon


NEW YORK – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says it would “chill speech” and “erode the quality of our democracy” if he serves a long prison term in the U.S.

Snowden spoke by video at a New York news conference Wednesday. Advocates, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, are launching a public campaign to persuade President Barack Obama to pardon him.

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The campaign includes an open letter Obama calling for the pardon, and is gathering signatures through an online petitionat

READ MORE: Edward Snowden calls on Barack Obama to offer him a presidential pardon

Speaking from Moscow where he is in exile, Snowden said he performed a public service by giving thousands of classified documents to journalists in 2013.

He says whistleblowers are “democracy’s safeguard of last resort.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that the president believes Snowden should return to the U.S. to face charges. He said Obama’s position is that Snowden’s leaks harmed national security and put Americans at risk.


© 2016 The Canadian Press

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