(CBS NEWS) The editorial boards of the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers on Thursday called for President Obama to treat former government contractor Edward Snowden as a whistleblower rather than a criminal for leaking information about the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs.
“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight,” the New York Times editorial board wrote. “He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”
The newspaper noted that the information Snowden leaked has prompted outrage “at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.” It concluded, “When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.”
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