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Thursday, January 2, 2014

'NYT' Calls for Justice for Snowden--And Portrays Officials as Criminals

Update:  Margaret Sullivan, the Times' fine public editor, just posted her take, revealing that the editorial was weeks in the making.   She hears from editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal about the timing and the "vitriolic" response from the right and adds her two cents:  "Like The Times’s editorial board, I believe that Mr. Snowden has done the United States, and in fact, the world, a great service."

And a Glenn Greenwald vs. Ruth Marcus debate on CNN this afternoon. 

Earlier:  Didn't see this coming: a NYT editorial, posted just now, calling Edward Snowden (right in its headline)  "whistleblower," hailing his contributions and pleading for a clemency or favorable plea deal.  Pundits and politicians are likely to reject this view, but Glenn Greenwald quickly pre-empted via Twitter:  "How many media people who object to NYT editorial on ground that 'lawbreaking must be punished' will mention Clapper, torturers or Wall St?"   More reactions at The Nation.

And The Guardian today calls for a pardon.  

The Times:
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. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
The shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States, but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures really hurt the nation’s security. Many of the mass-collection programs Mr. Snowden exposed would work just as well if they were reduced in scope and brought under strict outside oversight, as the presidential panel recommended.
When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. That’s why Rick Ledgett, who leads the N.S.A.’s task force on the Snowden leaks, recently told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Mr. Snowden would stop any additional leaks. And it’s why President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.

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