It is now official: Edward Snowden will not receive a presidential pardon for leaking classified NSA documents.

168,000 American citizens signed a petition at whitehouse.gov, calling on the President to pardon Snowden for his actions. The signees believe Snowden to be a "national hero" who brought to light major threats by the U.S. to personal privacy and individual freedoms. But the White House sees things very differently.

In a statement posted to the White House website, the President's advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, Lisa Monaco, explained the Administration's point of view:

"Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

"If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions."

 
Monaco advised Snowden to "come home" to "be judged by a jury of his peers," and then accused him of running away to "hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime."

One of Snowden's lawyers, Jesselyn Radack, responded to Monaco's comments via Ars Technica.

"How does President Obama think Snowden should have 'constructively addressed these issues' when his administration has led the worst crackdown on national security and intelligence whistleblowers in US history? Earlier, President Obama stated that he had passed an executive order that Snowden could have used in order to go through proper channels. That statement was false. Presidential Policy Directive #19 was not implemented when Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA and does not protect contractors like Snowden."

Clearly, opinions are still just as charged in the political sector as they are in the private one.

It's been two years since Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents and fled the country. He currently resides in hiding, somewhere in Russia.

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