Outgoing Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has asked Donald Trump to pardon Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
Both Assange and Snowden have been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 as they had leaked or published classified information. Gabbard posted a video on Twitter where she asked Trump to consider pardoning both men.
It is worth noting that Trump had recently pardoned Lt. General Michael Flynn, a former security adviser. Back in 2017, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI. But later on, he tried to withdraw the plea. Hinting at this instance, Gabbard tweeted, writing: “Since you're giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.”
.@realDonaldTrump Since you're giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state. https://t.co/aeXklUsNSd
Gabbard also shared a tweet from a month ago in which she discussed Snowden and Assange. She then asked her followers to help protect “brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government.”
“Join me and urge Congress: Pass my bipartisan legislation (HRes1162, HRes1175, HR8452) calling for charges against @snowden & Assange to be dropped & to reform the Espionage Act,” she tweeted.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has also extended his support to the bipartisan legislation. Gaetz is a strong Trump supporter himself and also urged him to consider pardoning Assange and Snowden.
Snowden was a whistleblower who was responsible for leaking classified information about the NSA's illegal mass surveillance programs. He obtained the information while working as a CIA employee and subcontractor. Assange, on the other hand, leaked several hacked documents alongside founding WikiLeaks.
While Snowden is currently in Russia as the country has provided asylum to him, Assange is in Belmarsh Prison in the UK. Assange is facing extradition charges to the US due to the leaks relating to Chelsea Manning.
In a recent interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald, Snowden said that the freedom of press would continue to decline.
“Trying to silence the publication of facts—which are valuable and important to the public, to the continuation of democracy, but uncomfortable to government—when they understand that that is something that must be accepted, that is what defines a democracy, rather than going, ‘No, we need to shut these people up; we're going to throw them in a hole, we're going to ruin their life, whatever,” Snowden said.