Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Snowden's Clemency Plea to U.S. Officials Falls on Deaf Ears

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Snowden's Clemency Plea to U.S. Officials Falls on Deaf Ears

Article excerpt

Neither a top Obama adviser nor key congressional leaders were receptive to Edward J. Snowden's newly published appeal in Der Spiegel.

If Edward J. Snowden believes he deserves clemency for his disclosures of classified government documents because they provoked an important public debate about the reach of American spying, he has failed to sway the White House and at least two key members of Congress.

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and her House counterpart, Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, gave sharply negative answers on Sunday when asked whether they believed Mr. Snowden had made a case for clemency.

"He was trusted; he stripped our system; he had an opportunity -- if what he was, was a whistle-blower -- to pick up the phone and call the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and say, 'I have some information,"' Ms. Feinstein said on the CBS program "Face the Nation." But "that didn't happen."

"He's done this enormous disservice to our country," she added, "and I think the answer is no clemency."

Mr. Rogers was equally adamant.

"No, I don't see any reason" to grant clemency, he said on the same program. "I wouldn't do that. He needs to come back and own up. We can have those conversations, if he believes there are vulnerabilities he'd like to disclose."

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, said on the ABC program "This Week" that there had been no consideration of clemency and that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States to face charges.

Mr. Snowden's argument -- made in a "Manifesto for the Truth" published on Sunday by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and in a letter to American officials handed to a leftist German politician who met with Mr. Snowden in Moscow -- was that he had started a useful debate about whether American spies were overreaching with the help of enormously powerful technology and should be reined in. …

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