Edward Snowden NSA Presidential Pardon Oliver Stone Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Edward Snowden thinks President Obama should pardon him before leaving office at the end of the year.
The NSA contractor who leaked classified documents to the press, and was subsequently charged by the U.S. government with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, made his latest plea from Moscow via a lengthy interview with The Guardian. Snowden, who fled the United States in 2013, argued that he was performing a moral duty in leaking the documents, which revealed just how pervasive government surveillance on citizens was in both the U.S. and abroad.
“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things,” Snowden said.
“I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed,” Snowden said. “The Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”
The campaign to have Snowden pardoned has been gaining steam in recent months. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in May called his actions a “public service,” though Holder also said Snowden needed to suffer some sort of punishment.
The film and Snowden’s renewed pleas for clemency come at a crucial point in American politics, as the country prepares to choose between a candidate accused of inappropriate levels of secrecy, and one who is accused of exhibiting fascist tendencies.
“Unfortunately, many candidates in the political mainstream today, even pundits and commentators who aren’t running for office, believe we have to be able to do anything, no matter what, as long as there is some benefit to be had in doing so,” Snowden said. “But that is the logic of a police state.”
As for whether he’ll ever set foot on American soil again, Snowden seemed sanguine about his prospects. “In the fullness of time, I think I will end up back home,” he said.
The Evolution of Joseph Gordon-Levitt: From Child Actor to 'Snowden' Star (Photos)
1991: Joseph Gordon-Levitt booked a number of roles as a child actor, including guest spots on "Family Ties" and "Murder She Wrote," but his first starring role was on ABC's revival of '60s gothic soap opera, "Dark Shadows." The show, on which JGL played David Collins, only lasted one season.
1994: In "Angels in the Outfield," JGL played an adorable foster child who prayed to God that the California Angels win the pennant so he can have a family again. God answered by sending a pack of angels, led by Christopher Lloyd, to help out the struggling ball club.
1996: JGL began an unforgettable turn as the oldest of four alien visitors scouting out planet Earth disguised as humans (although oldest, JGL's character was disguised as a teenager) in the hit NBC sitcom, "3rd Rock From the Sun." The show lasted six seasons, and ended its run in 2001.
1999: JGL starred opposite Heath Ledger in the Shakespeare-inspired teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You."
2001: JGL began shedding his squeaky clean sitcom star image by playing a violent and emotionally unstable juvenile delinquent in "Manic," an independent drama co-starring Don Cheadle and his future onscreen love interest, Zooey Deschanel.
2004: JGL continued to receive indie acclaim by playing a reckless male prostitute who was molested by his Little League baseball coach in "Mysterious Skin."
2005: JGL left a lasting impression on viewers as a young, hard-boiled detective in writer-director Rian Johnson's high school noir "Brick."
2007: JGL continued maturing in front of our eyes in another modern noir, "The Lookout," in which he played a forgetful bank janitor with a brain injury who gets lured into aiding and abetting a group of bank robbers.
2008: JGL brought emotional intensity to Kimberly Peirce's "Stop-Loss" as a suicidal Iraq war veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
2009: JGL starred in yet another indie, which allowed the rising actor to demonstrate his romantic lead chops. In director Marc Webb's breakout comedy "(500) Days of Summer," JGL played a Los Angeles 20-something who fell in love with a woman (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn't believe in love. He earned a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
2009: JGL went mainstream by playing Cobra Commander opposite Channing Tatum as Duke in Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra." The $175 million action movie made enough money to warrant a sequel, but JGL did not return to reprise the role.
2010: JGL went punk rock for the indie drama "Hesher," which co-star Natalie Portman helped produce.
2010: JGL officially became a movie star after taking on the dapper role of Leonardo DiCaprio's best-dressed partner in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi action blockbuster "Inception."
2011: JGL stepped back into comedy by playing a cancer patient alongside Seth Rogen in the dramedy "50/50." The performance earned the actor his second Golden Globe nomination and cemented his ability to play a broad range of roles.
2012: JGL took his career to the next level by helping Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne take on Bane in "Dark Knight Rises," director Christopher Nolan's conclusion to his blockbuster Batman trilogy.
2012: JGL reunited with "Brick" director Rian Johnson to play a younger version of Bruce Willis in the time-travel action thriller "Looper."
2013: JGL added writer and director to his résumé with the release of "Don Jon," a drama about a Jersey boy who must choose between his love of pornography and the love of his life (Scarlett Johansson). The rom-com premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance.
2014: In "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," JGL played a cocky young gambler who runs afoul of a powerful senator (Powers Booth) who turns out to be his dad.
2014: JGL won an Emmy for "HitRECord on TV," a Pivot anthology series adapted from his online venture for short vilms and video projects.
2015: In Robert Zemeckis' "The Walk," JGL played real-life daredevil Philippe Petit, who crossed between the Twin Towers of NYC's World Trade Center n 1974 on a tightrope.
2016: JGL took on another fact-based role in Oliver Stone's "Snowden," about the notorious whistleblower who leaked classified National Security Agency documents and then fled the U.S.
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JGL has had a spectacular rise to the top of his craft, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon