With both the Guardian and the New York Times calling for clemency for celebrity whistleblower Edward Snowden, Guardian columnist and Snowden partner-in-revelation Glenn Greenwald went on CNN to publicly defend his stance that Snowden was in the right for fleeing the U.S. for Russia.
Greenwald took on Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who called Snowden an “insuffereable whistblower,” on CNN’s The Lead. In her Post column, Marcus questioned, “if Snowden is such a believer in the Constitution, why didn’t he stick around to test the system the Constitution created and deal with the consequences of his actions?”
Because if Snowden were in the U.S., “he would disappear in prison and not be allowed to speak,” Greenwald responded in the televised showdown with Marcus, lambasting the D.C. media and pointing out that the Espionage Act has no exemption for whistleblowers that would allow Snowden to test out the Constitution in a federal court.
Both the Guardian and the New York Times have released editorial statements airing their support for Snowden.
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“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight,” wrote the Times editorial board, calling Snowden’s crime a “great service” and requesting that the U.S. offer him clemency.
“It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”
For its part the Guardian wrote in an editorial statement, “Mr Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of some moral courage.”
“The debate that Mr Snowden has facilitated will no doubt be argued over in the U.S. supreme court. If those justices agree with Mr Obama's own review panel and Judge Richard Leon in finding that Mr Snowden did, indeed, raise serious matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or, worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could be treated as a traitor or common felon?”
The Guardian expressed its hopes that “calm heads” would prevail in allowing Snowden to “return to the U.S. with dignity,” as an example of “the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.”