The Ultimate Election Twist: RFK Jr. Commits to Pardoning Edward Snowden

Independent presidential wannabe Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has gallantly declared that his very first act as President (should the stars align and he actually win) will be to pardon Edward Snowden, the world’s most famous leaker-slash-whistleblower. But wait, there’s more! Kennedy, in a move that’s sure to have absolutely no political backlash whatsoever, also plans to dive into the seedy underworld of the very practices Snowden laid bare. Because, you know, nothing says “fresh start” like kicking off your presidency with a dive into the espionage deep end.

Edward Snowden, an ex-contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), became known for disclosing details regarding the agency’s extensive surveillance activities within the United States during the Obama administration. He was the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history. In 2013, Snowden left the U.S. to avoid facing espionage charges that could result in a prison sentence of more than 30 years.

Snowden disclosed evidence of the U.S. government conducting global mass surveillance in violation of human rights and international law, contradicting its public statements. His actions have sparked a global debate on privacy and surveillance, led to historic rulings, and changed policies and technologies.

Kennedy, in a video statement released on April 1, lauded Snowden for performing an essential service to the public by unveiling the government’s covert surveillance of millions of American citizens. These actions breached various laws and the foundational principle of privacy.

The documents Snowden released reveal the extent of the NSA’s extensive surveillance. The agency collected trillions of domestic call records, including extensive cellphone location records and email address books, most of which belonged to ordinary individuals with no suspicion of wrongdoing.

The revelations made it clear that the U.S. government was engaging in far more extensive spying activities than it had previously disclosed. Furthermore, the testimony provided by National Intelligence Director James Clapper to Congress, in which he stated that the NSA did not intentionally collect the communications of millions of American citizens, was found to be knowingly false.

According to Kennedy, “His brave actions led Congress to restrict the surveillance authority of the intelligence community for the first time in forty years.”

Kennedy criticized the notion of penalizing whistleblowers, stating, “The America I love doesn’t punish whistleblowers. Truth tellers who champion free speech and try to return America to its democratic and humanitarian ideals should be revered, not prosecuted.”

Snowden’s revelations have earned him both acclaim and condemnation, with some branding him a traitor. Snowden justified his actions by stating his belief that the U.S. intelligence operations had excessively encroached upon civil liberties.

In 2016, the House Intelligence Committee publicized a report criticizing Snowden for his apparent indifference to American security and well-being. Conversely, a 2020 U.S. appeals court ruling acknowledged the illegality of the surveillance program Snowden exposed, noting the falsehoods presented by U.S. officials in its defense.

Additionally, Kennedy announced a petition demanding at least 300,000 signatures to urge the Biden administration to pardon Snowden and allow him to return to the United States without restrictions.

Kennedy pointed out the lack of public knowledge regarding the illicit data mining and surveillance of American citizens before Snowden’s disclosures, criticizing intelligence agencies’ portrayal of Snowden as a criminal supported by complicit politicians.

In Kennedy’s view, whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange are not traitors but individuals unveiling government corruption. Kennedy lamented the government’s persecution of free speech advocates rather than celebrating them.

Kennedy emphasized, “This isn’t the Soviet Union. The America I love doesn’t imprison dissidents. Our founders put free speech as the First Amendment because all our other rights depend on it.” Kennedy also added that giving the government license to silence its critics is giving it the green light for any atrocity.

Snowden resides in Moscow with his American wife, Lindsey Mills. He was granted Russian citizenship and a passport in 2022, thus protecting him from extradition. Snowden argues that the U.S. government’s revocation of his passport compelled him to apply for Russian citizenship, effectively barring him from leaving Russia. It remains unclear if he has formally renounced his U.S. citizenship.