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Snowden says will vote in U.S. presidential election


    National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden speaks via video link during the Athens Democracy Forum, organised by the New York Times, at the National Library in Athens.

ATHENS, Greece >> Edward Snowden, in exile in Moscow after leaking U.S. National Security Agency documents, said Friday he intends to vote in the U.S. presidential election, but did not say which candidate he favors.

“I will be voting,” Snowden said, speaking at a conference in Athens by video link from Moscow.

“But as a privacy advocate I think it’s important for me … that there should never be an obligation for an individual to discuss their vote. And I won’t be doing so with mine.”

He added: “What I will say about the candidates is that I’m disappointed we’re not hearing much about the constitution in this election cycle. We’re not hearing very much about our rights.”

The 33-year-old spoke ahead of the opening of the movie “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Snowden thanked human rights groups for their campaign to seek a pardon for him from President Barack Obama.

“I’m not actually asking for a pardon myself because I think the whole point of our system and the foundation of our democracy is a system of checks and balances,” he said. “But … I’m incredibly grateful and fortunate to be able to experience the support of the world’s three leading human rights organizations.”

A Republican-led bipartisan U.S. House intelligence committee on Thursday released a report calling Snowden a “serial exaggerator and fabricator” who doesn’t fit the profile of a whistleblower. All of the committee members separately sent Obama a letter urging him not to pardon Snowden, who revealed the NSA’s collection of millions’ of Americans phone records.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are behind the campaign to pardon him.

Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director, was on the panel of the Athens conference, and described the effort as “an uphill battle.”

“What we’re hoping is that after the election when Obama is in his final months in office — at that stage he can begin to do something that are appropriate as a matter of conscience but politically difficult,” Roth told the AP.

“One of them we would be is to pardon Snowden,” he said. “There’s been broad recognition that Edward Snowden has done an enormous public service by disclosing the degree to which all of our privacy has been invaded needlessly.”

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    • He chose his road and thus far living it much to the chagrin of detractors to his beliefs. Not one to critic a personal choice made by individuals, hope he is faring well and living it. Same goes for the Wikileak founder who is currently residing in the Ecudorian Embassy.

    • Yep, he also probably finds it ironic that the country that cares the least about the civil liberties of their citizens is the only country willing to give him safe asylum. It’s like selling your soul to the devil, since he will pay for it tenfold later.

        • He left on his own and no one here forced him to leave. Ex-Soviet Russia will care for him on their dime. He’s better off there since he feels they have better security than we do. Besides we don’t need him here, he’s a coward, traitor and a disgrace to all the military men and women that served to protect everyone living in the US for leaking classified materials to governments that would happily use that to potentially harm us.

  • Ironic for a guy who committed treason.
    BTW, is he even allowed to vote? Secondly, where exactly in the Kremlin will he find a voting booth? LMAO

    In other news, dyslexic devil worshiper sells his soul to Santa.

  • Obama has this one right. No pardon for this traitor. You wanted to become a martyr so come back to the US and stand trial. Yeah right, stand behind the skirts of our country’s enemies and stick tongue at all of us who you have endangered.

    • Sadly, they are a lost generation that have no clue what it’s like outside of the US since they never faced wars or hardships in life. They think everyone loves them like their mommy. Let them follow Snowden like lemmings into Soviet Russia, they will soon learn the rest of the world is not so friendly or forgiving to these coddled fools.

    • The government should have the ability to collect data on anyone suspected of being a danger to national security or to society for that matter. If you have nothing to hide or be prosecuted for then you have nothing to worry about. They can collect all the data they want on me. The government will not intervene on petty personal dialogues or affairs. How does the actions of Mr. Snowden provide us with “good service” and why then is he accused of espionage?

      • if you have nothing to hide, why don’t you post your e-mail log-on and password as well as those for your online bank accounts? The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects us against warrantless searches.

    • Nothing was illegal. I recall seeing the fine print dating back to the 80’s and it was in place since and likely before too. If you ever read the fine print on your phone contract regardless whether wired or wireless, it clearly stated they had every right to listen in to your phone conversations and collect anything you said sent over the communication channel. The only people that were shocked are the same people that never read the fine print. It’s the same people that bought cars/homes/time shares, etc. without looking at the contract and fine print and cried bloody murder afterwards because they never ever read what they signed. Snowden provided absolutely nothing new that anyone could easily read themselves with the most minor due diligence that most completely ignore to do so on their own.

      • Your statements are a gross over-simplification of current laws. (not to mention that you did not have a mobile phone nor a contract for one in the 1980s. I sincerely doubt you bought a $4000 Motorola Dyna-tek) Phone companies have better things to do than “listen in to your phone conversationsL” Call logs and records may be subpoenaed and under the administration of Mr. Bush, the “Patriot” act allows the use of some illegally obtained records of phone conversations in court.

        You know? There’s so much factual information readily available out there; just a few clicks away. You Cranky Old Men don’t really have to make up stuff. I guess it’s just laziness and “I believe it, it must be true.”

        • I never once said I had a cell phone in the 80’s. CAREFULLY READ the wording in my comment I made, just like the fine print you might have missed yourself. All I was implying was that, even as early as in the 80’s I’ve seen the legal wiretap disclosure in the Terms and Conditions of Service (TS&Cs). In the 80’s I had a landline and the fine print in my TS&Cs from the Baby Bell carrier clearly stated the option for them to collect data and listen in on domestic as well as international calls. In the 90’s my first cell phone contract stated the same. The telecoms had every legal right to collect and record all they wanted but you are correct that the government needed to subpoena that info from the telecom firms. I was safely assuming the NSA or any other government entity even in the 80’s could easily have been granted rights to scan over any of that data for data mining whenever they were looking for terrorists. Not once did I expect NOT to have my calls not wiretapped.

  • I didn’t know defectors were allowed to vote. By running to Russia, the only country that could possibly protect him, he effectively gave up his American citizenship.

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