On September 3, 2020, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz called on President Donald Trump to pardon American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 3, 2020
Snowden gained renown back in 2013 when he was an employee and subcontractor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). At the time, he copied and leaked out classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA).
The leaks that he released exposed a multitude of global surveillance programs which were operated by the NSA and Anglo intelligence alliances such as the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.
These agencies worked together with telecommunications companies and European governments to carry out mass surveillance programs. When Snowden released this sensitive organization, a national conversation surrounding mass surveillance was started.
Several journalists such as civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald used Snowden’s finding to open up a national conversation on a subject that people generally ignored.
What was once an obscure issue, soon became an international topic of discussion. Intelligence agencies and the activities they conducted were never really questioned before then and soon people began to voice skepticism towards America’s mass surveillance programs.
After Snowden leaked this information, he was compelled to seek asylum in Russia, where he has stayed in since 2013.
To make matters more interesting, President Donald Trump even suggested at potentially pardoning Snowden. Whether or not he follows through with this is a separate matter.
Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by going against the grain and challenging the foreign policy consensus on issues regarding never-ending wars. Individuals like Snowden previously exposed intelligence agencies and laid the groundwork for the creation of a voter base that viewed the surveillance state and military industrial complex with considerable skepticism.
Trump can shake things up in D.C. by pardoning Snowden and demonstrating that the surveillance state is not a sacred cow.
He should ignore all the conventional advice and allow Snowden to walk freely in America. Mass surveillance is indefensible and anyone who exposes should be treated as a hero not a villain.