In a move that comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following this story since it broke about two years ago, the White House has said it does not intend to support a pardon for Edward Snowden (emphasis added):
On Tuesday, White House officials finally responded publicly to a long-running petition to pardon Snowden for his theft of classified documents from the NSA. The answer was an unequivocal “No”, and the administration’s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor said Snowden’s actions have threatened the security of the United States. The White House’s response said that while there is a legitimate need for intelligence reform, Snowden went about it the wrong way.
“Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, wrote in a response to the petition.
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions.”
I love how the White House claims Snowden would even be given an opportunity to engage in any constructive act of protest in the United States. He has already accepted the consequences of his actions by living abroad, unable to return home, and essentially acting as the martyr for this cause. What exactly would the White House have him do? It’s not like if he were to go on trial he could even bring up these reasons as part of his defense, as that is expressly forbidden in a trial for treason.