It looks like whistleblower Edward Snowden might be renewing his lease at his Moscow apartment.
Today, the White House responded to and dismissed a nearly two-year-old petition asking for the pardon of Edward Snowden, and cited that his 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.”
The “We the People” petition was created just days after the first Snowden disclosures were made public regarding government surveillance programs like PRISM. Since its creation the petition has garnered nearly 170,000 signatures. The White House has generally responded to petitions on the site that have crossed the 100,000 signature threshold.
The letter, composed largely of a statement from Lisa Monaco, the president’s adviser on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, not only dismissed the notion of a pardon, but also seemed to argue that Snowden should return to America to “accept the consequences of his actions.”
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience,” Monaco said, “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.”
Monaco went on to cite that these views fit into a narrative shared by President Obama. “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.'”
Snowden is currently residing under asylum in Moscow where he faces charges from the United States under the Espionage Act, charges that he believes would not lead to a fair trial if he were to return to the U.S.