Gary Johnson Would Consider Pardoning Snowden and Chelsea Manning

As the 2016 U.S. Election comes closer, the competition, negative campaign, and divides among candidates and voters are getting more intense. But no matter who the final winner is, the United States of America will likely to continue to capture and prosecute Edward Snowden, an informant and National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower.

Except perhaps Gary Johnson, an American businessman, politician and the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

According to Vocativ, Gary Johnson, the U.S.’s most popular third-party presidential candidate, a former governor of New Mexico, reiterated his possible willingness to pardon Edward Snowden. He also expressed that he would “consider” pardoning the highest profile convicts of computer-related crimes in the country, including Chelsea Manning, Ross Ulbricht, and Jeremy Hammond.

Chelsea Manning is a United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents. Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in the eighth year, and to be dishonourably discharged from the Army. Jeremy Hammond is a political hacktivist and computer hacker from Chicago. He was convicted and sentenced in November 2013 to 10 years in US Federal Prison for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing the leaks through the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. And Ross William Ulbricht created a darknet market named Silk Road and ran it until his 2013 arrest, under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.

“Having actually served as a governor and administered the power to grant pardons and clemency, Gary Johnson is very conscious and respectful of the need for processes for using that authority,” said Joe Hunter, Gary Johnson’s communications director.

“However, he has made it clear on numerous occasions that he would ‘look seriously at’ pardoning Edward Snowden, based on public information that Snowden’s actions did not cause actual harm to any U.S. intelligence personnel. Likewise, he has said he would look favourably on pardoning Ross Ulbricht, consistent with his broader and long-standing commitment to pardon nonviolent drug offenders, whistleblowers, and others imprisoned under unjust and ill-advised laws,” Hunter said.

Edward Snowden is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency employee, and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the NAS in 2013 without prior authorization. Despite his revelations of many important documents that exposed the proved the NSA’s illegal surveillance of every American citizens, leaders of different countries in the world, and foreign nationals, no major presidential candidate has been voicing his or her support for Snowden’s actions.

Reina Ho

Reina Ho is a freelance reporter who focuses on censorship and information control in online space.

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