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.
I feel fairly safe in saying that if the president and official white house policy disagree, the president wins. It’s possible these rules are just bureaucratic customs that the Snowden petition could subvert if it gathered enough public support. But yeah, some Snowden supporter should totally take his case to the Pardon Attorney.
Sorry, but I can’t resist commenting on your blog when I have something to say… if you want me to stop, just shoot me an email. Otherwise you can just take the comments you like I guess?
It is not useless to show that there is strong public support behind something, even if that support never officially led to policy changes.