Snowden, Bergdahl? Obama Set For 'Pardon Frenzy' As He Leaves Office

Tyler Durden's picture

Having already broken the records on commutations, AFP reports that President Obama is fielding pressure from all sides to grant unlikely pardons of sentences to people whose supporters say have been unjustly sentenced or sought out by the justice system, before he leaves office in two weeks.  Among them is Bowe Bergdahl, Leonard Peltier, and Edward Snowden.

The US Constitution allows a president to pardon "offenses against the United States" and commute -- either shorten or end -- federal sentences.

Obama has so far granted 148 pardons since taking office in 2009 -- fewer than his predecessors, who also served two terms, George W. Bush (189) and Bill Clinton (396).

But he has surpassed any other president in the number of commutations, 1,176.


A Rastafarian prophet, a former Taliban captive and thousands of minor drug traffickers have one thing in common: Their names have been submitted to President Barack Obama for clemency before he leaves office in two weeks. As AFP reports, some US presidents have used this regal power of leniency in a pointed way near the end of their term in office.

On the last day of his term in 2001, Democratic president Bill Clinton granted pardon in a highly controversial move to late fugitive trader Marc Rich, whose ex-wife had been a major donor to Democrats.


Sixteen years later, Obama is fielding pressure from all sides to grant unlikely pardons or commutations of sentences to people whose supporters say have been unjustly sentenced or sought out by the justice system.


Among them is Bowe Bergdahl, a US Army sergeant held captive for five years by the Taliban before his release in a prisoner swap, who is due to be court-martialed for desertion.


Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist convicted for the 1975 deaths of two FBI agents in what his supporters say was a setup, is also hoping to enjoy Obama's good graces.


Then there's Edward Snowden, who made the shattering revelation in 2013 of a global communications and internet surveillance system set up by the United States.


The 33-year-old, a refugee in Russia, is backed by numerous celebrities like actress Susan Sarandon and singer Peter Gabriel, as well as Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.


If Obama fails to pardon Snowden, his supporters say he may face the death penalty under the incoming administration of Republican Donald Trump, who has called him a "terrible traitor."


In another leak case, Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year sentence in solitary confinement for handing 700,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, some of them classified.


Activists say her sentence is excessive and point to the psychological frailty of the transgender soldier who has already made two suicide attempts.

Even though the White House has dismissed a possible pardon for Snowden and Manning, their supporters are still hoping for a final magnanimous gesture from a president about to leave the constraints of his high office on January 20. But both cases present unique challenges: Snowden has yet to be sentenced and merely faces espionage charges in the US, while Manning has an appeal pending before military court.

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nuubee's picture

As long as the name Clinton is left off the list, I'm fine.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) nuubee Jan 9, 2017 6:36 PM

Hillary is at the top of the list.  Right after the name Barack Obama.  LOL

Croesus's picture

Peltier is the true-story behind the movie "Thunderheart".

Rather see him pardoned, as opposed to coke traffickers.

SilverRhino's picture

Actually I would be surprised if he tries some kind of blanket pardon for every black man in prison.  

HowdyDoody's picture

Chelsea Manning and the rest of the leakers.

Croesus's picture

@ Rhino:

Yeah, it would help massage the numbers a little, and make the dindu's look better, wouldn't it...

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Croesus Jan 9, 2017 7:35 PM

Remember the movie Billy Jack? That was a real kick in the gut. I hope that movie inspired lots of civil disobedience. I love that series of movies!

American Gorbachev's picture

three times in my life, i have been in a movie theatre when the audience stood, cheered, and applauded as the end credits rolled

the first was "Billy Jack", then "Walking Tall", and finally "V for Vendetta"

had a profound effect each and every time


The Greek horse's picture

Jullian Assange is still in Ecuadorian embassy he should be pardoned.. I AM NOT convince on EDWARD SNOWDEN I think he is a double agent.. ZH readers can somebody explain to me WHAT ? has Mr. SNOWDEN reveal that critically thinking Americans did not already know!?!?! The TRANNY is a hero she released it to WIKILEAKS THE REAL DEAL>> PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT anyone??


Davy Crockett's picture

Snowden turned "conspiracty theory" into "conspiracy fact".  Before Snowden, many people used to say "the government does this thing" or "the government does that thing".  Those people were possible to ignore and minimize by the people with an interest in doing so.  After Snowden, such statements are known to be true and must be dealt with.  Real money has been spent by Apple and Google and doubtless countless other companies, on securing their infrastruture that would not have been spent if the governments activities were only unproven speculations rather than proven fact.

Croesus's picture

There were guys blowing the whistle on domestic spying long before Snowden...back when Carnivore & Echelon were just getting warmed-up.

It's been going on for a long time.

The Greek horse's picture

Davy Crockett thank you for your input I really appreciate it. Not to be a jerk in any way but did't 9/11 and the patriot act signed by BUSH JR means the government can ears-drop on us any time they want.. But regardless of MR SnOWDEN I think WE both agree Jullain ASSANGE is probably going to go down as the biggest hero in our generation( was not born when they KILLED JKF..)  

Davy Crockett's picture

Snowden showed that USGOV was doing things that were illegal, even under the Patriot Act.  So, yes, it was important.

The fact that the sheep or the congress did not burn the NSA to the ground after all was revealed is disappointing.  But at least now, when companies debate whether they should spend money to implement some new encryption scheme to thwart USGOV spying, there is no question about whether that money is being spent by paranoid fools.  Now we all know that we're under active attack by our own government, and any decision we make to not implement security to counter that attack will be viewed as negligent by our shareholders, customers, and users.

jeff montanye's picture

the biggest hero in your generation is yet to be ascertained.  imo these next four years will be the testing ground.

for my money the bust of 9-11 so even the sheeple can see through the wool will be the prize.

Yen Cross's picture

 Please parden Hitlery.  Admission of guilt would make my day.

GreatUncle's picture

Would confirm what many people believe.

It would also make the possibilitiy of a criminal investigation into his actions likely and you can't pardon yourself if you don't have the power no more.

I guess as good a reason as any for not wanting to leave office is what who comes next finds out.


RedDwarf's picture

If Obama pardons Snowden, it will stand as his most singularly benifical and possibly important act as President.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) RedDwarf Jan 9, 2017 6:38 PM

I would be LESS surprised if Obama Drones Snowden AND Assange on his last day in office.


bh2's picture

More likely, it would seem, than any "magnanimous gesture".

kiwigal's picture

It would really piss Trump off too. But let's get real it isn't going to happen. 

sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

Can the Defence Dept. charter a Malaysian Airlines flight to repatriate the pardoned Guantanamo prisoners?

logicalman's picture

Are you a fan of Bonzo Dog?.

Few people appreciate those guys


IndyPat's picture

Then route the flight over eastern Ukraine, for extra good luck

two hoots's picture

I would support the presidential pardon system if it was on a one for one trade, free one but jail one that was tried but beat the system and their lawyer must serve time with them.  Keep them worried.

Bay of Pigs's picture

OT, Still wondering why people like Wasserman Schultz and Brazille weren't charged and prosecuted for the DNC election rigging fraud? Aren't those felonies?

IndyPat's picture

If he pardons Snowden and Manning, I'll shit and fall back in it.
I'd never say another bad word about the useless nigger ever again.

It ain't gonna happen though.

He'll totally pardon that Bowe douche and the injun. Just for spite.

IntTheLight's picture

Snowden and Manning are white. Won't be pardoned? Bowie is a Muslim so he'll be pardoned. It's all about blacks, Muslims and people who sufficiently hate white people that will determine the pardons.

Citxmech's picture

What about Mumia Abu-Jamal?  Is he on the list of folks pardon shopping from Obama?  

Skiprrrdog's picture

I heard that Barky Soweeto is going to do a posthumous pardon of Hitler...

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

He's going to pardon HC 1176 times. Print that list straight to the shredder.

Skiprrrdog's picture

Free Bill Clinton's wife!

29.5 hours's picture

When Obama and henchpeople evacuate Washington, will they do it with helicopters, as in Saigon?

East Indian's picture

your comment is worth repeating, hence +1

ronron's picture

he should let that manning dudette go.

La morte sorride a tutti's picture

Had Snowden been just a whistle blower that stayed stateside his cause would have been more effective, and a pardon all but assured. On the run in Russia makes me bet against a pardon.

29.5 hours's picture

<< would have been more effective... >>

You cannot be effective if you are dead or kept in solitary confinement. Being alive and still a moving target is better.

La morte sorride a tutti's picture

Did washington, Jefferson, Adams, and the rest of the patriots run to spain when the british wanted to hang them by the balls?? No they stayed in the homeland to fight for freedom. Snowden is a girl on the run.

29.5 hours's picture

Very different situation. In any case, your comment shows you have little respect for the real pressures and threats these patriots had to deal with. George Washington, for instance, actually did make plans to disappear into the hinterlands at one terrible stage of our revolution. I view Snowden as a patriot who showed by his conduct that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are living documents, embodying principles worthy of sacrifice.

BoingBoing's picture

35 years in solitary.

That's fucking evil. At least ISIS eventually slits your throat.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Jan 9, 2017 7:27 PM

Bowe was mutilated while captive and is a eunuch. I don't care what happens to him.

Manning has been at Leavenworth for how many years? What a waste. Anyone that failed to learn about securing systems after his USB stick heist is an idiot.

Assange is not an American citizen. Nothing the Prezzie can do for him.

Snowden? Spare me. Barack isn't going to let that white boy go free. Keep on dreaming.

Leonard Peltier? I agree. Let him go. It was a set up and the USSA has treated First Citizens like shit for more than 200 years.

HowdyDoody's picture

"Assange is not an American citizen. Nothing the Prezzie can do for him."

Other than extraordinarily rendition him and stick in some black hole for the rest of his life, I guess you are right.


DarkPurpleHaze's picture

I'm guessing that some type of "Get Out Of Jail" card or immunity from prosecution for Hillary & Co. is forthcoming.

I'd rather see the "Go directly To Jail/Do Not Pass Go/Do Not Collect $200 (million)" card come up and see her thrown under the bus.

Promethus's picture

Lois Lerner, ObaMao's IRS stooge, should be first order of business with the Trump administration.

wisefool's picture

+1000. There is lots of meta going on about the super spy kids. Irwin Schiff died alone chained to a bed in a cold IRS prison. that is actually more impressive than even founding fathers "his" story, much less the (reading the) script kiddies like manning, snowden, etc.

logicalman's picture

When government is corrupt you can hardly expect it to do the right thing.

Think 'Obama Nobel Peace Prize'

Hats off to Snowden, Wikileaks and Manning.

The world needs more like them.