Monday November 21, 2016

President Says He Can't Pardon Edward Snowden

During an interview with Der Spiegel, the President said that he can't pardon Edward Snowden until he has gone before the courts. Plenty of people have been pardoned in the past without standing trial so, at least in this case, I think "can't" means "won't."

I can't pardon somebody who hasn't gone before a court and presented themselves, so that's not something that I would comment on at this point. I think that Mr. Snowden raised some legitimate concerns. How he did it was something that did not follow the procedures and practices of our intelligence community. If everybody took the approach that I make my own decisions about these issues, then it would be very hard to have an organized government or any kind of national security system. At the point at which Mr. Snowden wants to present himself before the legal authorities and make his arguments or have his lawyers make his arguments, then I think those issues come into play. Until that time, what I've tried to suggest -- both to the American people, but also to the world -- is that we do have to balance this issue of privacy and security.