There was speculation that more pardons could be on the horizon after President Trump recently pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Some members of Congress are encouraging Trump to grant the boldest clemency currently being discussed: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard tweeted on November 27, one day after the Flynn announcement, '@realDonaldTrump Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.'

Her tweet linked back to a post from October promoting her legislation that would drop...

There was speculation that more pardons could be on the horizon after President Trump recently pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Some members of Congress are encouraging Trump to grant the boldest clemency currently being discussed: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard tweeted on November 27, one day after the Flynn announcement, ‘@realDonaldTrump Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.’

Her tweet linked back to a post from October promoting her legislation that would drop US charges against both Snowden and Wikileaks’s Julian Assange. Gabbard wrote at the time, ‘Brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government must be protected.’

While Gabbard is popular with many Trump supporters, it has been a small but vocal group of libertarian-friendly conservative Republicans who have done the most to encourage the President to pardon Snowden.

When Trump first floated the idea in August, Republican senator Rand Paul tweeted, ‘@Snowden revealed that Trump-haters Clapper and Comey among others were illegally spying on Americans. Clapper lied to Congress about it.’

‘@realDonaldTrump should pardon Snowden!’ Paul declared on August 15.

Republican congressman Thomas Massie retweeted Snowden on August 14, adding, ‘@realDonaldTrump should pardon Edward @Snowden.’ Republican-turned-Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash retweeted the same Snowden post and reiterated the call for a presidential pardon.‬‬

In mid-September, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the warrantless telephone surveillance program former NSA contractor Snowden leaked to reporters to in 2013 was illegal. This prompted Republican congressman Matt Gaetz to join the Snowden clemency chorus.

‘As of today, the case has never been stronger that Edward Snowden deserves a pardon from President Trump’ staunch Trump ally Gaetz said on his podcast after the court ruling. ‘If it were not for Snowden, we might not know today that our own government was engaged in an activity that now a federal appellate court has deemed illegal.’

Indeed. If not for Snowden, most Americans would likely still be in the dark about what their government had been doing to them.

Even so, one thing is clear: Trump is likely Snowden’s last chance at freedom.

President Trump has not hesitated to criticize the intelligence community or ‘deep state’ that he believes has plotted against him over the last four years, including accusing them of spying on his campaign. The entrenched Washington elite loathes Snowden with every ounce of its bureaucratic being for exposing its secrets.

President-elect Joe Biden, meanwhile, is a veteran member of this political class. In fact, it was Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, telling Congress that the government was not spying on citizens that prompted Snowden to reveal the truth.

Many Republicans, particularly the old Bush-Cheney establishment GOP gatekeepers, not only will never forgive Snowden but will likely never stop pursuing him. There is not a civil liberty or privacy right most of them would hesitate to infringe on if it got in the way of their agenda.

This is true of most who man the Washington machine. Snowden is the antithesis of what they stand for. It is hard to envision most conventional Democratic or Republican presidents ever pardoning 37-year-old Snowden.

Now that US courts have deemed spying acts committed by the federal government against citizens illegal, why is the man responsible for making the public aware of them still being punished?

North Carolina-born Snowden and his wife Lindsay Mills remain in exile in Russia. They announced in October that she was pregnant. Their young family has expressed they want an American life — and they deserve one.

Arguably the greatest whistleblower hero of our time, Snowden belongs on American money, not in hiding. President Trump must pardon Edward Snowden because, sadly, no one else will.