Should Donald Trump pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange? Here’s why Internet wants only one of them saved

Many have hailed Snowden a 'hero' for what he did


                            Should Donald Trump pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange? Here’s why Internet wants only one of them saved
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange (Getty Images)

Ahead of Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about communication with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. The president's November 25 move to pardon the retired general who pleaded guilty twice has made people wonder if he would similarly pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  

Trump tweeted, "It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”



 

 

The former Army General's sentencing had been deferred a number of times and he moved to withdraw his guilty plea in January 2020 claiming that his plea agreement had been breached. The case was placed on hold by Federal district judge Emmet G Sullivan in May and The United States Department of Justice announced that it intended to drop all charges against Flynn. A significant number of people have shown their support to the former CIA employee, who disclosed highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, and Wen MacAskill. 

Coming to the two men being the topic of hot discussion on social media, here's a brief reminder about Snowden. In June 2013, the United States Department of Justice charged Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act 1917 and theft of government property when he had leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs. He was granted a temporary right of asylum in Russia which was made permanent in October 2020. 

After Trump pardoned Flynn, Snowden started to trend on Twitter as more and more people tried to bring this to the POTUS' attention, with many hailing him as a "hero" for his act. One social media user wrote, "PARDON SNOWDEN! He's a whistle blowing hero. The people calling him a criminal are the people he blew the whistle on. We know we can't believe them." Another added, "@Snowden I for sure think you should be pardoned but I think you should come live in Canada , don't go back to USA" Adding to that another tweeted, "Sorry, everything I've heard about the dude is that he's a complete scumbag. I despise hero worship. If he gets pardoned I couldn't care less. I'd far rather see Snowden pardoned."



 

 



 

 



 

 

Besides Snowden, the WikiLeaks owner, Assange was also trending on Twitter as people discussed if he deserves to be pardoned for leaking the information provided by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010. In the same year, an international arrest warrant was issued against Assange over sexual assault allegations. He reportedly sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. He was arrested in April 2019 after his political asylum was revoked. He was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 in May 2019 and is incarcerated in HM Prison. 

One Twitter user wrote, "Not to mention Assange is also indicted for sexual assault. But sure, pardon him, anything to own a lib. Right?" Another wrote, "People clamoring for Trump to pardon sleaze merchant and sexual predator, Julian Assange, next? No." One tweeted, "I would love us to pardon Snowden. Unlike ASSange, he actually did this country a service. We *needed* to know the NSA was overstepping its bounds. Flynn and Trump? F**k 'em."



 

 



 

 



 

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