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White House Finally Responds to Petition to Pardon Snowden

Remember that White House petition site We the People? If over 100,000 people sign one of those petitions, the White House has to respond. Well, today they answered a bunch of petitions that had been left unanswered, including one signed by over 160,000 people calling for Edward Snowden to be pardoned.

The petition calls Snowden a “national hero” and a whistleblower who deserves a complete pardon for bringing NSA surveillance to national attention.

The White House responded today, through President Obama‘s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, who said this was not the way to get people talking about these programs and Snowden should have tried to bring up the issue internally instead of doing what he did.

Here’s the full response:

Thanks for signing a petition about Edward Snowden. This is an issue that many Americans feel strongly about. Because his actions have had serious consequences for our national security, we took this matter to Lisa Monaco, the President’s Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Here’s what she had to say:

“Since taking office, President Obama has worked with Congress to secure appropriate reforms that balance the protection of civil liberties with the ability of national security professionals to secure information vital to keep Americans safe.

As the President said in announcing recent intelligence reforms, “We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require.”

Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions.

We live in a dangerous world. We continue to face grave security threats like terrorism, cyber-attacks, and nuclear proliferation that our intelligence community must have all the lawful tools it needs to address. The balance between our security and the civil liberties that our ideals and our Constitution require deserves robust debate and those who are willing to engage in it here at home.”

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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