The paper is getting blistering blowback for its editorial on Saturday saying President Obama shouldn’t pardon the leaker/whistleblower (depending on your point of view).
The Post is “the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source,” says Glenn Greenwald, who led the coverage of the Snowden disclosures for the Guardian U.S., which shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize with the Post.
In its editorial, the Post acknowledges that Snowden’s disclosure of the National Security Agency’s domestic phone surveillance led to corrective legislation.
But, the Post says, Snowden also disclosed information about a separate overseas NSA Internet-monitoring program, PRISM, “that was both clearly legal and not clearly threatening to privacy.” And “far worse,” he leaked details of basically defensible international intelligence operations, the Post says.
Perhaps, says the Post, a solution might be a bargain in which Snowden accepts some criminal responsibility and the government offers some leniency in recognition of his contributions.
“Neither party seems interested in that for now,” says the Post. “An outright pardon, meanwhile, would strike the wrong balance.”
“The Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service,” says Greenwald. “But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against the paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.”
“If the Post editorial page editors now want to denounce these revelations, and even call for the imprisonment of their paper’s own source on this ground, then they should at least have the courage to acknowledge that it was the Washington Post — not Edward Snowden — who made the editorial and institutional choice to expose those programs to the public,” says Greenwald. “They might want to denounce their own paper and even possibly call for its prosecution for revealing top-secret programs they now are bizarrely claiming should never have been revealed to the public in the first place."
Advocacy groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union began a push last week asking Obama to pardon Snowden. The campaign was launched days before the release of “Snowden," an Oliver Stone biopic about the former NSA contractor.