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“I never expected to be pardoned by President Obama,” Snowden said on Tuesday.
Edward Snowden said that from contacts he has had with those in the White House and in President Obama’s orbit, “we’ve come to understand that [Obama] was personally wounded as a result of these disclosures,” which prompted Snowden to seek asylum outside the country.
This revelation was made during the question and answer portion of Snowden’s keynote address at Estoril Conference on migration on Tuesday.
Snowden also addressed the notion of President Obama pardoning him. Based on communications he had with Obama’s White House and those in the former president’s orbit, Snowden realized he would not receive a pardon because the information Snowden leaked significantly damaged Obama’s legacy.
A reporter asked Snowden if expected to be pardoned by President Obama and why he thought that pardon never came.
It had long been speculated, leading up to Obama’s final hours in office, that he would grant Snowden a 11th hour pardon.
Snowden, however, disputed this notion saying, “I don’t think it was a likely case. I’m not even sure it was a possible case, because the president himself was the one most personally embarrassed by these disclosures.”
“[Obama] campaigned in 2007…on the platform of saying he would end exactly this kind of warrantless mass surveillance,” Snowden continued. “In secret, instead of ending this programs, he entrenched them and expanded them. He made their reach greater, he made their use more common, he normalized what had been an unlawful and unpopular program of the George Bush administration and made it a new American tradition.”
“Being exposed in that way was extremely damaging for [Obama’s] legacy on the civil liberties side,” he added.
“It would be an admission of wrongdoing if [Obama] were to use his pardon powers,” Snowden concluded.
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