Bipartisan Hostility to Trump’s Possible Pardon of Snowden

Joint statements rules even considering pardon a 'terrible mistake'

The possibility of President Trump pardoning Edward Snowden has made the whistleblower’s fate a political issue. This has led to a quick backlash from both parties, who now believe it would be a “terrible mistake” to pardon Snowden.

The opposition centers on a joint statement from Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) from the House Armed Services Committee, who accused Snowden of having done “enormous harm” with his whistleblowing.

There isn’t strong evidence of “harm” done by Snowden. Rather, his leaks made certain NSA surveillance of the American public common knowledge, sparking debate on reform which is still ongoing. Those embarrassed by the revelation have continued with a very shallow narrative demanding he be punished.

None of this precludes Trump from pardoning Snowden, and the fact that the others are lining up to cash in politically on opposing the pardon may suggest that they really believe this is a possibility.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.