NYT Wants Clemency For ‘Whistle-Blower’ Snowden

'He has done his country a great service'

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Glenn Greenwald / Laura Poitras / The Guardian / Reuters

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a still image taken from video during an interview by the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong on June 6, 2013

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.

(MORE: NSA Reportedly Also Spying On Gamers)