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President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning


President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning

Trevor Timm

As he wraps up his presidency, it’s time for Barack Obama to seriously consider pardoning whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Last week, Manning marked her six-year anniversary of being behind bars. She’s now served more time than anyone who has leaked information to a reporter in history – and still has almost three decades to go on her sentence.


Obama can and should do this, but.... Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined; clemency doesn't appear to be in his nature, as Manning's trial proves. And because Clinton's MO is to out-man every male in the room, we can only assume she will show the same tendency, and be harsher still in her whistleblower prosecutions, should she ascend to the throne. And as much as I hate to point this out, Bernie has not indicated he would pardon either Manning or Snowden. This is the face of the modern Democratic Party.


Not only should they be pardoned, but they, along with Julian Assange, should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
And Congress should award all three the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Very few people have done so much truly to secure our Freedom.

Instead we get War Criminals like Kissinger and Obama awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The US is makes a mockery of justice by going after whisleblowers and refusing to close the Gitmo concentration camp.


Will pardoning them affect Obomber's speech-giving income post white house? Yes. Possibility of pardon? Zero.


No chance, whatsoever, with Snowden. Snowden exposed Obama's complicity and dishonesty in the government's surveillance overreach. Obama is in no hurry to bring that topic up, again. Nor can Obama pardon Snowden until Snowden has been convicted of a crime. The best Obama can do is to instruct the Justice Department to drop charges, but those charges can be re-instated by the next administration. Snowden would be a fool to trust any promises of a fair trial from Obama or his successor.

As for Manning, Obama had convicted her, publicly, before she was even tried. A President who assumes he can execute anyone, even an American citizen, anywhere in the world, without due process or even the flimsiest oversight is hardly the type to pardon a Manning. Obama would see that as undermining the military chain of command which he so clearly worships.


If Obama were to pardon these hero's, he would hinder the democrat candidates chances to be elected. The pardon should come from the next president. He had his chance to do the right thing.


Excellent essay, Mr. Timms.

I've always found it interesting that Josh Earnest, called back to act as White House spokesperson has such an easy time of repeating Official Talking Points and is not in the least, earnest.

"Earnest is, to put it charitably, not telling the truth. Snowden was a contractor, and as such, by law, he did not have any of the whistleblower protections that an employee of the NSA would have. It’s amazing that the White House is still repeating this lie years after it was debunked."

If Truth and Justice mattered in our nation (after its covert military coup and subsequent development of a fully functioning Deep State apparatus), your case would be airtight here:

"But there is precedent for a pardon: Samuel Morrison, the first leaker convicted under the Espionage Act, was pardoned by Bill Clinton during his presidency. Given how powerful figures who have also mishandled or leaked classified information, such as David Petraeus, have gotten off almost scot-free, it’s past time the administration did the right thing and made sure these two American heroes can return from exile and prison."


Anyone who's awake is conscious.

The term is conscience. And it's not your only grammatical error in this short comment.


Right, because those Republicans just can't wait to show clemency!

Have you heard Trump on Snowden?

The nation underwent a silent military coup after the assassination of JFK. And that feat was accomplished because Allen Dulles and friends had such a strong grip on information (as in disinformation) channels, and so many friends with criminal and/or professional hit men backgrounds.

From that point on, between the NSA and its black budget, its legacy of assassinations all over the world, and its allegiance to major corporations, the nation gradually transformed into a covert military state.

The head honchos of banks, corporations, the MSM and the MIC CALL the shots.

Obama is the M.C. He reads the script.


There is no one who has mishandled classified information more than Hillary Clinton. She put the entire security of the State Department and the Nation at risk. She did not do this to inform the people of criminal or government wrong doing. She did it to shield her self from the freedom of information act, and to shield her functions as Secretary of State from the American people. She also risked top secret information by using her personal computer simply for her own convenience. Bradly Manning got 35 years in prison for mishandling government information. What do you think they will do with Hillary Clinton? Probably nothing. In the United States ordinary people do as they are told, important people do as they damn please.


Obama, the architect of "repression USA" will never pardon those two patriots - he has proven to be a police-state shill and person who lauds and empowers the security state and repression, NOT respect whistle blowers who expose the truth.


Though every Progressive out there has by now has come to realize that Obama's allegiance is to his corporate pay masters first, a pardon is something that corporate America wouldn't penalize him for, after he has left office. The Pentagon also feels that Snowden, Manning and Assange are threats to their particular brand of waging war and would be pissed off if Obama pardoned any of them. Nevertheless, if Obama is to retain any shred of credibility after he leaves office, the pardons would go a long way in improving his image amongst the American intelligentsia as well as ending his dark, eight year presidency on a positive note.


It would take political courage, integrity, and a functional moral compass for the "progressive" fraud security-state prez to even consider such an action - let's face it - Obama the prez is very far from the candidate he sold, pig-in-a-poke style to a hopeful US electorate - a lie from the very beginning!
Now we have a real progressive candidate and the Dem establishment corporate/banker/wall st whore wing is foisting Obama II on America and the world - I say BS!
Bernie or Bust! Occupy Philly! No Justice, NO Peace!


I'm afraid he will pardon Hillary R. Clinton before that...


Here are more people who deserve pardons.
Jeffrey Stirling and Don Siegelman. There are so many more but these convictions are so obviously wrong. Why?


I hope you're right. I believe he will be much better than the current president. That said, Sanders is in the same camp with Holder right now: Snowden should be prosecuted, but his overall service to the nation should be considered at sentencing.


I don't disagree with you about the GOP, JFK, the MIC. And the Republican Party is getting its just desserts in this current nomination process. But this article is specifically about whistleblowers in the Obama Administration, which has proved to be the most ruthless on that matter in this country's history. Put another way, the face of the modern Democratic Party is masking injustice on a grand scale.


Nor do I disagree with your comment. However, it is also true that there are numerous Trojan Horse types who comment on C.D. and their goal is always to:

  1. Decimate Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives
  2. Take aim at writers who resonate with any of the above
  3. Show the same tunnel vision as Trump when they chastise Clinton (or say that Sanders has no chance)
  4. Refuse to address the systemic corruption (of Big Money's power and influence) that's compromised both political parties
  5. Prefer a "People Magazine" version of celebrity politics. The focus on the single individual's flaws is another way of taking the spotlight off the far more serious systemic corruptions (many of which are now firmly baked into the mix)

The point being, I don't get the feeling that all posters are fair or honest; and since so many take aim particularly at Democrats (leaving out the more odious policies of Republicans and their right wing benefactors) I feel the need to challenge this frame.


You're hilarious.

Instead of merely correcting YOUR mistake, you and your tag team admirer instead try to destroy my credibility.

That is the mark of an insecure punk.

Meanwhile, at least half of your comments are directed at ruining the reputation of many of C.D.'s writers.

Shall I list a few? Yes. I have copied and pasted some of them... to prove this point.


It's not a "grammatical error" to use the totally wrong word.