Well, I didn’t see this coming.
The Guardian today in an editorial called for a pardon for Edward Snowden, while a New York Times editorial, posted late tonight, labels Snowden (right in its headline) a true “whistleblower,” hails his contributions and pleads for clemency.
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?” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, tweets: “Snowden exposed major misconduct. Others filing official complaints were ignored/persecuted. He should be pardoned.”
Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic claims Snowden’s critics are wrong—clemency would not set a “dangerous precedent.” The WikiLeaks twitter feed simply observed that the Times had “finally” called Snowden a “whistleblower.” Kevin Gosztola at Firedoglake asks the Times editors: "If Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower, What Does That Make Chelsea Manning?" UPDATE: The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan probes the paper's reasons for backing Snowden now–and she adds her support.
Here’s 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.