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Ex-Obama official urges clemency for Snowden

343584_Anne-Marie-SlaughterPresident Barack Obama’s former top official has said that the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should be offered clemency.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director of policy planning, tweeted on Thursday that she totally agreed with a New York Times editorial which called for clemency for Snowden, who leaked information about the US government’s massive surveillance programs.

“I agree with @nytimes on Snowden. ‘Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower,’” Slaughter tweeted.

Slaughter, who served under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, oversaw the Policy Planning Staff, which works as an internal think thank offering independent policy analysis to the secretary of state.

Last Wednesday, the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Guardian called on the Obama administration to allow Snowden safe passage back to the US.

“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,” The New York Times editorial read. “He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”

The Guardian also said in an editorial on Wednesday that what Snowden did “was an act of courage” because he “gave classified information to journalists.”

Richard Ledgett, who heads an NSA task force dealing with unauthorized disclosures, also said last month that Washington should consider granting Snowden amnesty in exchange for returning any additional documents he possesses about Washington’s confidential surveillance programs.

Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia in August, faces espionage charges in the US. Over the past seven months, he has disclosed documents that brought to light the scope and scale of the US government’s spying activities across the globe.

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