Courtesy of Reuters:
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is considering a pardon for Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor – now living in Russia – whose spectacular leaks shook the U.S. intelligence community in 2013.
The Republican president’s comments followed an interview here Trump gave to the New York Post this week in which he said of Snowden that “there are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly” by U.S. law enforcement.
“I’m going to start looking at it,” Trump told reporters about a possible pardon, speaking at a news conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club.
U.S. authorities for years have wanted Snowden returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges brought in 2013.
Snowden fled the United States and was given asylum in Russia after he leaked a trove of secret files in 2013 to news organizations that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA.
Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RIA news agency the United States should not simply pardon him, but should drop all possible prosecutions against Snowden as he had not commited any crimes.
“He was acting not only in the interest of the American citizens, but in the interest of all the humankind,” Kucherena said.
Trump’s softening stance toward Snowden represents a sharp reversal. Shortly after the leaks, Trump expressed hostility toward Snowden, calling him “a spy who should be executed.”
Okay if you do not see this as another example of Trump doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin you are blind.
Now I am not one of those who think that Snowden was a Russian spy all along, but I certainly do not think that Putin has allowed him to live in his country without there being a quid pro quo.
I absolutely think that Putin got his hands on those NSA records and that he has been using them to infiltrate America’s computer networks every since.
I also think that Snowden is 100% working for the Kremlin now and that if Trump pardons Snowden and then allows him back into the country that he will be inviting a fox with a vast knowledge of our cybersecurity systems back into the henhouse.
I think Trump is trying to keep a few last promises to Putin before he is removed from office, and I think this might be one of them.