Washington, DC, United StatesSep 14, 2016, 05.25 AM (IST)
Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, who has been living in exile in Russia for more than three years has called on US President Barack Obama to pardon him before he leaves his office next year.
The former intelligence contractor said his decision to disclose classified information about the US and British surveillance program was “morally correct” and he should be pardoned.
"If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off," he told The Guardian newspaper in a video-link interview from Moscow yesterday.
The 33-year-old insisted that the “public cares more about these issues more than he had anticipated”.
Oliver Stone, director of the biopic thriller “Snowden”, also called for Obama to pardon the whistleblower at the Toronto film festival this year.
The 33-year-old insisted that the “public cares more about these issues more than he had anticipated".
Snowden's residency permit in Russia runs out next year. He even said that he was prepared to spend time in jail in the US, adding he was “willing to make a lot of sacrifices for the country”.
Last year, the White House rejected a petition signed by over 150,000 urging a pardon for Snowden, saying he should be "judged by a jury of his peers".
In a video-link interview Snowden said the disclosure of the scale of surveillance had left people better off.
“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the 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 said.