Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joins a growing group of prominent public figures who are calling for a plea agreement, clemency, or a full-blown pardon for Edward Snowden, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower.
While Sanders says he believes Snowden committed a crime, he admits that Snowden’s actions allowed Americans to see how the NSA “abused” its authority and has violated the constitutional rights of American citizens.
“We must learn from the troubling revelations Mr. Snowden brought to light,” Sanders wrote. “Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must be given the tools they need to protect us, but that can be done in a way that does not sacrifice our rights.”
Sanders called for “some form of clemency or a plea agreement” to spare Snowden of a permanent exile or a long prison sentence.
The Vermont senator joins a group of 20 other public figures who are calling on Barack Obama to pardon Mr. Snowden, or in the very least, find a way for him to return home to his family in the United States.
Some prominent figures, however, are still critical of the idea of showing leniency toward Snowden. Former NSA Director Michael Hayden feels Snowden should “face the full force of the law.”