Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Seeks for Trump To Pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange
Nov. 26, 2020 (EIRNS)—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) released a tweet today to President Donald Trump, calling for Trump to pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Gabbard tweeted, “@realDonaldTrump Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.” She included the content of her Oct. 6 tweet: “Brave whistleblowers exposing lies and illegal actions in our government must be protected. Join me and urge Congress: Pass my bipartisan legislation (HRes1162, HRes1175, HR8452) calling for charges against @snowden & Assange to be dropped & to reform the Espionage Act.” Accompanying the tweet was a short video in which she explains the legislation.
On Oct. 2, Representative Gabbard and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced H.Res.1162, a resolution calling for the federal government to drop all charges against Edward Snowden. In a press release that day, Gabbard stated:
“We continue to see attacks on American civil liberties by aggressive surveillance policies within our own government, trading on the fears of the American people. This occurred under both Democratic and Republican administrations, while a few brave whistleblowers came forward to lift the curtain on the Constitutional threats we faced. Edward Snowden has been persecuted for bravely exposing massive illegal government surveillance of all Americans—a finding backed up by U.S. courts as recently as last month. Meanwhile, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress saying this program did not exist, and suffered no consequence whatsoever. All charges against Edward Snowden should be dropped. We need to protect whistleblowers, not the powerful elite.”
Both Snowden and Assange are charged under the 1917 Espionage Act.
Assange, after releasing critical documents through WikiLeaks, and sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 which was lifted in 2019. He was arrested and has been held in Belmarsh Prison in Britain, pending extradition to the U.S., where he faces charges related to leaks from Chelsea Manning. Snowden exposed the NSA mass surveillance programs. While in the Moscow airport en route to Hong Kong, the U.S. State Department cancelled his passport, forcing him to seek asylum from Russia in 2013. He has lived there since, effectively in exile. As he states, “The Obama administration has prosecuted more people under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press than all previous administrations combined.”
Were President Donald Trump to pardon both of these whistleblowers, what a story they would have to tell. They could release documents and testify to Congress, providing evidence and insight that would shake every tree in the global surveillance state forest, and create a powerful force that could aid in unravelling the British Empire coup against U.S. President.