This petition to pardon Edward Snowden, an NSA leaker, got over 90,000 signatures. Even though it’s completely useless. This isn’t cynicism – it’s official White House policy to ignore petitions for pardons, and direct petitioners to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. See this:
“Requests for executive clemency for federal offenses should be directed to the Pardon Attorney, who conducts a review and investigation, and prepares the Department’s recommendation to the President. Additional information and application forms are available on the Pardon Attorney’s website.
The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications.”
Strangely, even Reuters doesn’t mention this in their story on the petition. Shame on them.