The New York Times editorial board is calling for President Barack Obama to take mercy on former NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden.
In an editorial published late Wednesday, the newspaper called Snowden a “whistle-blower” and said Obama should grant him clemency.
While the Times concedes that Snowden broke the law in leaking data on the NSA’s vast surveillance and data-collection programs, the paper also said that, “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. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
The Guardian, the newspaper that first reported on Snowden’s leak’s leaks, went further in calling for a pardon.
Snowden, who is living in Russia under temporary asylum, was the runner-up to Pope Francis for TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year.
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