In a new interview with the Guardian, Edward Snowden said there is a case to be made for President Obama granting him a pardon before he leaves office. The power to grant presidential pardons exists, he said, because sometimes there are "things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things." He adds that, once more time has passed, "it will be pretty clear that this war on whistleblowers does not serve the interests of the United States; rather it harms them." Snowden, who leaked tens of thousands of NSA documents in 2013, says there's no question the public has benefited from his whistleblowing.
"It is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [US] Congress, the courts, and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures," which included details about mass government surveillance programs. "At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result." Snowden's supporters have been ramping up attempts to get him pardoned; currently, he faces at least 30 years in jail in the US for allegedly violating the Espionage Act. The Guardian notes the chances of Snowden getting pardoned by Obama seem "remote," but former attorney general Eric Holder did say in May that Snowden had performed a public service. Click for the full interview, which comes days ahead of Oliver Stone's film about Snowden, opening Friday.