Petition To Preemptively Pardon Ed Snowden Reaches Goal Of 100k Signatures

The Whitehouse petition to pre-emptively pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for “crimes he may have committed while blowing the whistle” has reached its goal of 100,000 signatures. This means that the U.S. Administration, by its own rules, need to take it seriously enough to craft a response to it. While that response is unlikely to be anything else than “we politely disagree and intend to impolitely hunt this man down”, it is still an important signal of dissent.

The petition reached 100,000 signatures at 12:30 UTC, today June 22. These petitions, as defined and set up by the U.S. administration in the White House, are a way for citizens to call attention to issues they want to be taken seriously. This particular petition is unusually clear in its language, where most are rather poorly worded and ambiguous:

Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

Now, regardless of success in terms of signature count, it is important to remember that this is a petition – not a legislation. This is not a binding parliamentary vote that reached its goal of majority. It is a voice of dissent against the administration’s persecuting an important whistleblower, and it is a voice of strong dissent against the administration’s ubiquitous wiretapping. They are going to ignore it completely – on its own. But the persistent drop hollows the stone. This was but one fall of the drop. Snowden’s pardon petition needs to be one of many, many initiatives that voice dissent in the coming weeks and months.

It is also reasonable to ask if one should be speaking in terms of “pardon” in the first place, as though the man was a criminal rather than a responsible citizen with higher morals than most could hope to achieve in a lifetime. In this affair, the surveillance hawks are the criminals who should be seeking pardon, and no one else. We think the key message to get across is the first part of the petition: “Edward Snowden is a hero”.

On its own, this petition stands as much chance of changing an ivory-tower establishment attitude as the massive protests after the raid and verdict against The Pirate Bay did. At that time, the establishment reacted with – at most – a condescending “good for them nerds to get some sunlight”. That holier-than-thou tone of voice changed radically when the Pirate Party kicked officials out of office to take their seats in the following elections. One step at a time, one voicing of dissent at a time. Every step is important. For example, don’t miss the similar Avaaz petition that is currently in excess of one million signatures.

To be honest, it is also fair to say that the administration has little reason to take their petition seriously on its own after a petition to build a Death Star reached the same kind of goal. While obviously tongue-in-cheek, and given exactly that sort of response from the administration, that petition set the bar for the seriousness of other White House petitions.

This was one successful step of dissent against the surveillance state, and for the freedom of the press that counteracts it. Sunlight isn’t just good for nerds, it is necessary for society overall.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Caleb Lanik

    I’ll just leave this here:

    When I am president, there will be no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.
    – Senator Obama
    December 24, 2007

    1. Zionist Trash

      This qoute should have been included in the petition..

    2. manen

      – They’ll buy it anyway!

      Le Obama Meme

    3. Sam

      Key word there is “illegal”. Technically the NSA isn’t doing anything that’s illegal because laws have been passed to make it legal.

      1. jonathanlyng

        Those laws are illegal in the U.S as they do not respect the laws law: the constitution and its amendments. So illegal is the spot-on, correct term.

        1. Orwelian84

          Sadly the courts have held, except for in 1 case(which is of course classified) that these programs are constitutional.

          The rot has permeated all branches of government.

    4. ByteMaster

      Remember how the Trade Federation officials asked Lord Sidious if “that” was legal, to which Sidious replied: “I will make it legal”?

      Same situation here. There is no more illegal wiretapping because it is now legal.

  2. 137946258

    Unless those 100,000 people can give their ‘elected’ representatives any reason to fear their continued employment, this means nothing; a database of 100,000 people the NSA thinks has something to hide and therefore are already flagged.

    1. asdfghjkl

      Because the NSA is spying on me, I can go to my embassy (I am not an American citizen) and get my country, which is extremely large and powerful, to call for a meeting in the UN about US serveillance.

  3. So is the NSA security leaker a hero, villian or both? - Page 16

    […] He has come out and said he is NOT an agent for China. Now there's a petition to pardon him Petition To Preemptively Pardon Ed Snowden Reaches Goal Of 100k Signatures – Falkvinge on Infopolicy I guess I believe him now that the petition seems to indicate that he is disgusted by what the NSA […]

  4. Ano Nymous

    There are a few things I don’t understand:

    Why is Snowden’s leaks such big news? Didn’t just about everyone know at least approximately what the NSA is doing?

    How comes he’s still alive and free, if it is so important they’re claiming? If the surveillance-police-state is so strong in the USA, wouldn’t he be “v&’d” the moment he released the info, or earlier?

    Why only release so obvious stuff, like that the NSA is wiretapping left and right, and not anything important like the NSA’s crypto cracking capabilities, programs to identify people from language use, clicking and page visiting behaviour, voice, face, etc. and how well those programs work?

    If everything is legit, Snowden is indeed a hero, but I’m a little bit suspicious because of these questions and the fact that mainstream media made such a big affair of a piece of privacy news. They almost never do that otherwise.

    Also, I wondered if anyone else had been thinking in similar ways, so I DuckDuckGo’d “Edward Snowden fake”, and got a few results. Many of them was error 404.

    I hope my suspicions are wrong, and in that case i give my sincere apologies to Edward Snowden if he would happen to read this, but I can’t help having the suspicions. There are so many things in this that seem odd. What I can’t figure out however, is what they would win from faking this leak and leaker.

    1. gurra

      “What I can’t figure out however, is what they would win from faking this leak and leaker.”

      If they got something very big to hide they may select to expose some few embarrasments to try and cover some bigger thing up. =)

      1. Ano Nymous

        It is possible. Then the question is of course what.

        Another possibility is that it is to make everyone aware that they are watching just about everything, to induce self-censorship. Or some even more embarrassing information has been stolen but not yet leaked, so they are adding an intermediate temperature step in the otherwise sudden frog-boiling.

    2. Scary Devil Monastery

      “Why is Snowden’s leaks such big news? Didn’t just about everyone know at least approximately what the NSA is doing?”

      It’s big news because although everyone may have suspected the NSA of doing exactly as they have been revealed to do…

      …the way they handle the information and the lack of oversight was apparently enough to make an apparently conscientious and patriotic employee decide to sacrifice his life in freedom in order to reveal it.

      In short, the bad news is not in their general data gathering, but in what they do with it. You were on Facebook? Congratulations, there’s a file on you in a databank with an automatically generated “estimated threat level” on you based on your Google-searches.

      1. Ano Nymous

        Have Snowden revealed that “automatic threat level system”? There was no doubt at least in my mind that something like that existed. Do you mean that that was not obvious?

        Because if it was obvious, it’s the same. Snowden tells everyone what everyone already knows, although of course with claimed eveidence.

        On the other subject, I tend to stay as far away from Facebook and Google as possible, including blocking tools and VPN service (that accepts Bitcoin and cash for payment)
        It’s no guarantee, but it’s way better than nothing. I have never had a Facebook account, and will never register one either.

  5. Anonymous

    what this petition should do is make the government and the law enforcement agencies that are so keen to eliminate Snowden very aware that the people are grateful to him for what he has done. the government and others ought to also realise that they work for the people, not the other way around!. the government is supposed to be the mouth piece of the people and as such should be obeying the people’s wishes, which sure as hell are not to persecute him, arrest him or eliminate him. i dont know if the government and others will take any notice or not, but i wouldn’t be surprised if anything happens to Snowden, it could easily kick off a shit storm the like of which has not yet been seen! the people are angry about this surveillance crap and the various governments need to wake up and put a stop to it! to keep blaming one for doing what the other is also doing is like kids in the playground with the bigger thing of peoples lives being played for. what i find so amazing are the charges the USA is trying to lay at Snowden’s feet. he is charged with ‘theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorised person. now, as he worked for an organisation that is part of the US government which is supposed to work for the people, i find the charges quite strange. the property he ‘stole’ and the ‘classified communications intelligence information’ he communicated were both produced by sections who work for the government that works for the people. as for the ‘unauthorised communication of information’, that was a hell of a lot less serious, if serious at all, than the ‘unauthorised spying, wiretapping and surveillance’ carried out by multiple USA government agencies and agencies of many other countries. if there is any espionage or unauthorised anything, it has been carried out by many agencies in many countries without the knowledge or permission of the people of any of those countries! all this has managed to achieve is bring to the attention of the people everywhere what governments everywhere are up to and what they think of the people in those countries. everyone is being classed as a terrorist, being treated as a terrorist and had all the rights of privacy and freedom removed from them for no reason, other than, from what i see, this complete obsession that the USA has. everything and everyone are the ‘enemy’! everyone everywhere are plotting to commit crimes against the USA! like most people, the events of 9/11 were horrendous and i certainly hope there is never ever a repeat of it or the events in the UK but to carry this to the extent they have is wrong! now the information is out, no one is going to trust a government again. no one is going to believe a thing they are told! and with the number of companies now saying how they were involved as well, any service offered, any equipment etc offered are going to be shunned more. how can anyone think it’s ok to tell a friend on facebook anything? the feds know as well. how can anyone buy and use a touch screen computer? the feds have your finger prints! how can anyone buy an XBox One? it’s watching everyone in that room, listening to everything said, relaying all information back to the feds over the ‘always on connection’ to the net!
    a hell of a lot of trust has been thrown away now and it’s not gonna be gotten back by doing anything to the one person who had the balls to tell the rest of us what was going on!

  6. Anonymous 1

    Forget the whitewash surrounding Snowden, HE NAILED IT!
    Jim Stone, June 10 2013, updated June 11

    The elite establishment is in a horrendous state of panic, making up all types of discrediting BS, about Snowden being CIA and handed the docs by the CIA, about him being a dropout, and coming soon – AN ALIEN IMPLANT MADE HIM DO IT. But if you want the real scoop, just take it from another NSA white hat, what is below REALLY peeved the establishment because IT NAILS IT.

    Forget the B.S. stories about Snowden, there is only ONE that applies and you will not hear about it in the press, which has protected the NSA with a great big white wash. Snowden worked out at Kunia. He had an extensive training program he had to go through before being allowed in. He HAD TO have been 99th percentile, the story about high school drop out is B.S, and so is the rest of the washing of his background. After hearing his conscience out at Kunia, he left Hawaii, defected, and told the truth.
    There is also a rumor that Snowden worked for a contractor for $122,000 a year. I doubt that seriously because the NSA is so secretive it is extremely wary of contractors, and during my time with the NSA, I saw only 2 people EVER that were contractors, and they were never out on the operations floor. So yeah, I buy $122,000 a year, but NOT with a contractor. People who get to see enough to reveal what Snowden did have million dollar background checks, involving interviews with practically everyone in their past, and the interviewers do not identify themselves, they just talk as friends over a beer or whatever. So no one knows when they are being asked questions about someone the NSA intends to hire. These background checks take a year or so to complete and contractors can’t afford to do that, the FED does. What Snowden revealed proves through emperical evidence that he was not employed by a contractor, he was just straight up NSA. The entire High School drop out story is pure B.S., because if during one of these checks any of the secret questioners comes up with even a little whiff of something wrong with your past, YOU ARE OUT.

    Unlike the CIA, which has over a million spooks, the NSA is so secretive that very few people break the barrier to entry, which limits the size of the NSA to below 50,000 people total, a majority of which are highly talented super geeks. The expense of the background investigations alone seriously limits the number of people the NSA can hire.
    Don’t expect anything that is now claimed to be said by Snowden as actually coming from him. They are whitewashing this as fast as possible, while making false posts and statements to the web and media that claim to be from him. By now he has been replaced with the public image of someone else. For starters, it is ERIC SNOWDEN, not EDWARD as we are now told and this subtle name change will be used to deflect meaningful search into his past.

    My own experience in the NSA is enough to prove what little I have said about Snowden to be true. There is ONE OPTION – Snowden was BRILLIANT, had extensive back ground searches done on him, went through a very difficult school, got assigned to Kunia where he lived in the same location as many other NSA people who have families do, drove to Kunia daily, and finally could not take what he was seeing there anymore and ratted them out. THAT IS THE ONLY STORY. Snowden did not have a girlfriend. He had a wife, and any reference to him “leaving his girlfriend behind” is another lie. You cannot live where Snowden did and have a “girlfriend”, the NSA will not put you in the premium government family housing in Waipahu for only a “girlfriend”. Furthermore, stories about the house being sold now are B.S., because Snowden was in government housing the same as all lower level NSA people are given. Unless you are an outside contractor (and those are very few in number), The NSA does not leave it’s people to run with the general public, they all get assigned a living area where like minded people are. And from these few mistakes the press made, we can assume that the entire background they are presenting on Snowden is a lie. The house he was in was never owned by him and DID NOT get sold.

    To see a long list of B.S. my own experience proves to be lies, just google “where snowden lived”

    Furthermore, the “leaked documents from anonymous” are PURE B.S. and are all readily available public documents. I see this as an attempt to muddy the waters with regard to Snowden’s legitimate leak.

    Watch for story creep in the mainstream and portions of the alternative press regarding what I have said here, since I am former NSA telling it like it is I have noticed that the story keeps getting regular tweaks to counteract what I say here, the latest being “it was his girlfriend’s house”. Don’t buy into the tweaks, what is above is a truthfully rational assessment of HOW IT HAD TO BE, from someone who simply knows how things are. Granted, when I was with the NSA they were not spying on Americans, but their procedures and methods were anchored in stone and for what I have said above to not weigh out now would mean something massive regarding hiring policy, housing policy, contractor policy and other things changed there, which I doubt, especially if this is the first big leak and Kunia is still misrepresented on Google maps, with the real entry obscured by a cloud.

    Where Snowden worked (see my comments following this article) and in case you are new here, I am former NSA and have toured this facility. To pull this up on Google maps, type Kunia Oahu into Google.

  7. Anonymous

    read that Snowden went to Moscow, but not to stay. on route to somewhere else. wouldn’t be surprised if it was Iceland. they seem to have human rights respect there. yet again, just as with Manning, the USA has done wrong things, been caught out and exposed but cant take the embarrassment. in retaliation they go after those that have embarrassed them rather than admitting to what they have done. if anything happens to Snowden, i bet the shit storm that follows will be something the Americans will not recover from. no amount of excuses will suffice. the UK is just as bad, not only for aiding in the surveillance but for threatening airlines not to take Snowden there. the coalition government are really going to town on the openness and transparency bit there, eh?

  8. labbutanand

    In Amerika you are surveilled!
    In Mother Russia ale serves you!

  9. passstab

    a couple more petitions that we should support
    i think if we can get all three of these reaching threshold
    it will send a very strong message
    also it’s worth mentioning the threshold has moved greatly since the death star petition

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  12. Anonymous

    Edward Snowden doesn’t deserve Pardon. He deserves more than that.

    I think we should at least consider naming streets after him and we should do the same for Bradley.

  13. Website fail?

    Rick, given Google’s involvement with the NSA + data mining for itself, why does your website’s search box invoke Google? Wouldn’t or be a much better choice?

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