Now that President Barack Obama has granted clemency to Chelsea Manning, will Edward Snowden be next on his list? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Snowden will be granted clemency or a pardon, according to recent statements from White House officials.
Here’s what you need to know.
More than a million people have petitioned Obama to pardon Snowden. However, the White House has said that Snowden didn’t file the required paperwork to gain clemency. Clemency means that a sentence is shortened, but it’s not a full pardon that clears all legal consequences. Manning will be freed in May.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday about a Snowden clemency:
Mr. Snowden has not filed paperwork to seek clemency from this administration.”
Earnest also pointed out serious differences between a Snowden pardon or clemency vs. Manning’s, the New York Times reported. Even though the two have similar offense, Manning’s disclosed documents were all “secret” level, and not classified above that. Snowden’s materials disclosed were “far more serious and far more dangerous,” he said.
Earnest also added that Manning went through the military criminal justice system and was found guilty and sentences. Snowden, meanwhile: “fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Snowden has been in Russia since 2013. He had not, however, originally planned to flee to Russia. He was originally in Hong Kong and had intended to seek asylum in Ecuador. The foreign minister of Ecuador had confirmed that his country received a request for political asylum from Snowden, The Hill reported. But his passport was revoked and he was forced to stay in Russia. Snowden said in an interview in 2014 that he landed in Moscow from Hong Kong, with a flight booked to Cuba and an intention to head on to Ecuador. But his passport was revoked and he was stranded in the Moscow Airport. He never intended to stay in Russia, he has asserted.
Snowden has offered his congratulations to Manning and was a big proponent of her release.