White House Remains Silent on 'Pardon Edward Snowden' Petition

A petition on the White House's website
demanding a pardon for fugitive whistle-
blower Edward Snowden passed the
100,000-signature threshold to win an
official response two months ago. It's still
waiting for a response, despite petitions
significantly under the threshold receiving
official comment during the same time
"Response times vary," National Security
Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told
U.S. News in an email Friday, responding
to a request for White House comment on
the two-month delay. "We're not in a
position to comment on the substance of a
response before it has been issued," she
Any response is unlikely to please the
134,000 people who agreed that Snowden
is "a national hero and should be
immediately issued a full, free, and
absolute pardon" for releasing to news
publications information on the National
Security Agency's phone and Internet
surveillance programs.
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"I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,"
President Barack Obama said Aug. 9. The
president has vigorously defended the
surveillance programs exposed by Snowden
in June.
However, it's also possible for the
administration to duck the issue by giving
a response similar to the one used by
White House spokesman Josh Earnest
Wednesday on Bradley Manning's 35-year
prison sentence for providing documents
to WikiLeaks. Manning has since self-
identified as a woman, and is seeking
recognition under the name Chelsea.
"I'm not going to get ahead of that
process," Earnest said . "If there is an
application that's filed by Mr. Manning or
his attorneys, that application will be
considered in that process like any other
The petition urging a pardon for Snowden
passed the 100,000 threshold June 24,
meriting an official response.
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Despite the lengthy delay for Snowden
supporters, two of the three most recent
White House petition responses –
one regarding H-1B visas
and another regarding American Sign
Language – were awarded despite those
petitions not clearing the requisite hurdle.
The sign language petition received
around 37,000 signatures and the visa
petition less than 27,000.
Earlier in 2013 a petition urged the
abolition of the White House's petition
site. "This is not participation in the
political process," that petition said . "This
is a way for you to cherry pick a few
popular issues and make a statement to
get some quick press coverage."
Hayden assured U.S. News the Snowden
petition would eventually receive a
"Each petition that crosses the threshold
of 100,000 signatures will be reviewed by
the appropriate policy staff and receive a
response," she said.