Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would consider issuing a presidential pardon to whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has remained in exile in Russia since disclosing highly classified information from the National Security Agency.
After leaking the info to the Guardian in 2013, Snowden left the U.S. traveling to Hong Kong and then to Moscow in order to avoid being arrested.
To some, Snowden is seen as a civil liberties hero, but to others, he is seen as a traitor for revealing secret intelligence documents.
Back in 2014, Trump called Snowden a ‘spy’ tweeting, “A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed.”
Q: "Do you want to give Edward Snowden a pardon and bring him back?"
Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century.
Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world.
He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.
After the trailer was posted, the real Edward Snowden tweeted the trailer out with this message:
Last night President Obama made a lengthy appearance on the Tonight Show, where Jay Leno brought up the subject of Russia’s crackdown on LGBT people.
Leno: “This seems like Germany – let’s round up the Jews, let’s round up the gays, let’s round up the…it starts with that. You round up people you don’t like. Why isn’t more of the world outraged at this?”
Obama: “I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that should transcend every country, and I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
“What’s happening in Russia is not unique. When I traveled to Africa there were some countries that are doing a lot of good things for their people, who we’re working with and helping on development issues but in some cases have persecuted gays and lesbians and it makes for some uncomfortable press conferences sometimes but one of the things that I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly because that’s what we stand for and I believe that’s not a preset that’s not just unique to America but should apply everywhere.”
When Leno asked him if it would affect the Olympics, Obama replied:
“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure that the Olympics work, and I think that they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They are athletes. They are there to compete. If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”
The presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden IF he can find a way out of Moscow, Russia, where he’s been holed up in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport for nearly two weeks.
The Foreign Minister of Venezuela has said Snowden has until Monday to accept their offer.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega made a similar offer during a speech in Managua, saying Nicaragua would be willing to grant asylum to the NSA leaker “if circumstances allow it.” He said the Nicaraguan embassy in Moscow is currently reviewing Snowden’s request. ”We have the sovereign right to help a person who felt remorse after finding out how the United States was using technology to spy on the whole world, and especially its European allies,” Ortega said.
Snowden is currently stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s airport with no way to enter Russia, and no valid U.S. passport for travel.
The Guardian reported that a member of Russia’s parliament said Sunday in a tweet that Venezuela could be Snowden’s last chance for asylum. If he does accept Maduro’s offer, he will have to find a way to travel to Caracas without a valid passport and without traveling through the airspace of America or its allies.