Newspapers in the United States and Britain on Jan. 2 simultaneously pushed the Obama administration to give the whistleblower Edward Snowden a pardon.
With Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, already being deemed a hero by many in the world arena, offering him clemency would also cater to the U.S. interests as it could help mitigate the damage done to the U.S. image by Snowden’s leaks.
An editorial in The Guardian, the first newspaper that published information based on Snowden’s leaks, said: “We hope that calm heads within the present administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr. Snowden to return to the U.S. with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.”
Indeed, if the United States wants to continue with its self-proclaimed role as a beacon of democracy and a champion of human rights, it should set an example in respecting and protecting individual rights and privacy.
Snowden has raised serious issues of public importance, which were previously hidden, or, worse, dishonestly concealed.
In a Christmas message, Snowden called for an end to the U.S. surveillance. He spoke for people around the world, especially those victimized by the U.S. surveillance program.
In fact, showing leniency to Snowden is only the first step Washington should take. The U.S. still owes the world, its own citizens included, an honest account of its notorious spying programs and a solemn pledge that it will increase transparency.