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One of the main topics from 2013 - the leaks of National Security Agency Documents by former contractor Edward Snowden - will continue to be a major area of concern for the U.S. government heading into 2014. On New Year’s Day, two major newspapers called on President Barack Obama to show clemency towards Edward Snowden and hailed him as a whistleblower.
The New York Times editorial board called Snowden a whistle-blower in its piece, going over how much more the public knows about the NSA’s programs thanks to Snowden.
“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,” the Times wrote. “He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
The Times said that Snowden should be offered a plea bargain or clemency so he can come home and be recognized as a whistleblower.
The Guardian, which has been used by Snowden as the primary source for leaking the documents, also called for Snowden to be pardoned. The U.K.-based paper called the Espionage Act, which Snowden would be charged for violating, “a clumsy and crude law to use against government officials communicating with journalists on matters where there is a clear public interest” because it doesn’t give a defendant a chance to “argue such a public interest in court.”
According to The Huffington Post, the White House already rejected a clemency plea from Snowden, who is currently in Russia. The administration has asked him to come back to the U.S. for a trial.
Meanwhile, Snowden’s impact on the NSA is already being felt in court. While a district court judge called the NSA’s phone records gathering unconstitutional, a federal judge in New York said that it is legal.
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