Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard suggested Thursday that President Donald Trump consider pardons for Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
“.@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,” the former presidential candidate tweeted.
.@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
— Tulsi Gabbard ? (@TulsiGabbard) November 26, 2020
Gabbard included a video she had posted several weeks earlier, calling for support for her own proposed legislation that would protect whistleblowers and drop the charges for both Snowden and Assange.
“Brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government must be protected,” Gabbard’s video, dated October 6, was captioned. “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.”
Brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government must be protected.
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.#PassItOn pic.twitter.com/x4Oieu1YgH
— Tulsi Gabbard ? (@TulsiGabbard) October 6, 2020
Snowden, the former National Security Agent who has been living in exile in Russia since 2013, spoke with Glenn Greenwald in an interview published Wednesday and warned that the “war on whistleblowers” was not likely to slow down during an administration headed by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“This is not a partisan issue; these people are backers of Obama, and we all know about the things that have happened under the Trump administration. But when you look at this as a trend, as a dynamic, what you see is the criminalization of journalism,” Snowden explained.
Snowden referenced Assange, who is currently in prison in the UK, and noted that unless there was a major policy shift he did not expect Biden’s treatment of whistleblowers to differ greatly than that of former President Barack Obama’s administration.
“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. We’re going to de-platform them,’ or whatever the new tactic is, this is going to continue to be a problem, and the freedom of our press is going to continue to decline,” Snowden concluded.