Edward Snowden could return to the United States if Donald Trump decides to grant a presidential pardon to the complainant.
According to an August 15 report by Reuters, Trump said he would „begin studying“ a possible pardon for the Immediate Bitcoin complainant, who has been living in an asylum in Russia since he left the U.S. in 2013. The comments came shortly after Trump told The Post that „many people“ think Snowden „is not being treated fairly.
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In a Twitter response to Trump’s comments, Snowden said:
„The last time we heard the White House consider a pardon was in 2016, when the same Attorney General who once accused me admitted that, on balance, my job of exposing the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance system had been ‚a public service.'“
Under Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, a president has the power to grant pardons and reprieves „for offenses against the United States. Snowden still faces federal charges for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and for stealing government property.
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If the U.S. president invokes this authority, it would make the former NSA contractor the 26th person Trump has pardoned since taking office in January 2017.
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Since his exile in Russia, Snowden has often expressed his views on Bitcoin (BTC), even expressing concern about its blockchain as „devastatingly public“.
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The servers Snowden used in 2013 to filter thousands of documents to journalists were reportedly paid for with Bitcoin. In addition, the whistleblower said he „felt like buying Bitcoin“ during the March crisis, when the price of the currency fell to US$3,782.
In 2019, Snowden had hinted that he might resort to crypto-currency to circumvent the U.S. government’s attempt to restrict his access to the profits from the publication of his book, Permanent Record. On 7 August, a US trial judge decided to impose sanctions on the complainant over the sales of his book, stating that he had „acted unequivocally in bad faith“.