News World Trump says he is considering pardon for leaker Edward Snowden

Trump says he is considering pardon for leaker Edward Snowden

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is considering a pardon for Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor – now living in Russia – whose spectacular leaks shook the U.S. intelligence community in 2013.

The Republican president’s comments followed an interview Trump gave to the New York Post this week in which he said of Snowden that “there are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly” by U.S. law enforcement.

“I’m going to start looking at it,” Trump told reporters about a possible pardon, speaking at a news conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club.

U.S. authorities for years have wanted Snowden returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges brought in 2013.

Snowden fled the United States and was given asylum in Russia after he leaked a trove of secret files in 2013 to news organizations that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA.

Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RIA news agency the United States should not simply pardon him, but should drop all possible prosecutions against Snowden as he had not commited any crimes.

“He was acting not only in the interest of the American citizens, but in the interest of all the humankind,” Kucherena said.

Trump’s softening stance toward Snowden represents a sharp reversal. Shortly after the leaks, Trump expressed hostility toward Snowden, calling him “a spy who should be executed.”

Trump said on Saturday he thinks Americans on both the political left and the right are divided on Snowden.

“It seems to be a split decision,” Trump told reporters. “Many people think he should be somehow treated differently. And other people think he did very bad things.”

DOMESTIC SPYING

Some civil libertarians have praised Snowden for revealing the extraordinary scope of America’s digital espionage operations including domestic spying programs that senior U.S. officials had publicly insisted did not exist.

But such a move would horrify many in the U.S. intelligence community, some of whose most important secrets were exposed. Trump has harshly criticized past leaders of the U.S. intelligence community and FBI, and on Thursday took aim at the bureau’s current director Christopher Wray, his own appointee.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit last September against Snowden, arguing that the memoir he published last year, “Permanent Record,” violated non-disclosure agreements.

The Justice Department said Snowden published the book without submitting it to intelligence agencies for review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements.

Trump’s use of his executive clemency powers including pardons has often benefited allies and well-connected political figures.

Last month he commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, sparing him from prison after he was convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to boost Trump’s candidacy.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Turkey blocks Cyprus from joining UN disarmament forum as observer

Talks aimed at overcoming a years-long deadlock over disarmament at the United Nations began in acrimony on Tuesday with two countries blocking rivals from...

Contract signed for construction of pavements in Agia Napa’s “Kokkines” area

Agia Napa municipality has signed a contract for the construction of pavements in “Kokkines” area - more specifically from Spyros Kyprianou Avenue to the...

Rescue teams still search for 70-year-old woman missing at sea

Three days after a 70-year-old Greek Cypriot woman went for a swim in Phinikoudes, Larnaca, police and civil defence rescue teams continued on Wednesday...

Police fine 132 for covid measures breach in past 24 hours

Police fined 128 citizens and 4 establishments all across Cyprus over the past 24 hours for violation of covid-19 measures aiming to curb the...

Cyprus and Saudi Arabia to immediately launch political consultations

Cyprus and Saudi Arabia will immediately launch a political dialogue between the two countries by convening the first meeting of counterpart foreign ministries in...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...