Gov. Gary Johnson has always said his candidacy is the best of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, except when it comes to privacy rights and Edward Snowden — where he’s running in a field of his own.
The former New Mexico Governor was on Newsmax TV on Tuesday, and he said that he would pardon the NSA whistleblower who released leaked classified information regarding America’s domestic spying program back in 2013.
“Well, by face justice, I don’t want to see him in prison,” Johnson said to the host of The Hard Line.
Snowden first fled to Russia and since has been living in exile in Russia, but opinions of the former NSA contractor have changed significantly since he first leaked the documents.
Even former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder went from saying Snowden committed an act of treason back in 2013 to announcing on CNN Tuesday that the whistleblower committed an act of “public service.”
“At the end of the day, really, I agree attorney general Holder’s statement. It’s pretty darn accurate,” Johnson said.
“If I were president of the United States, I would certainly look into actually pardoning Edward Snowden,” he continued. “This is someone who has divulged information that we would not know about currently and that’s the United States government spying on all of us as U.S. citizens.”
To date, he is the only presidential candidate to make such a statement. Donald Trump has said that Snowden is a “traitor” and Hillary Clinton has called for him to stand trial.
Snowden responded by slamming Clinton on Twitter, stating the classification rules he broke were for the public benefit and he is living in exile — while the former First Lady did it for personal gain and may end up president.
Break classification rules for the public's benefit, and you could be exiled.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 1, 2016
Do it for personal benefit, and you could be President.