Edward Snowden appeared to take aim at Donald Trump on Thursday over remarks the former president made about not pardoning the one-time National Security Agency (NSA) contractor while in office.
Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia since 2013, tweeted part of Trump’s recent interview with Candace Owens of The Daily Wire and later shared another tweet strongly criticizing the former president.
Trump had reportedly considered pardoning Snowden toward the end of his time in office. Snowden revealed in 2013 that the NSA was using surveillance techniques against U.S. citizens on a mass scale and could face decades in prison if he returned to the U.S.
Snowden shared a tweet featuring a clip of the interview where Owens asked Trump about pardons for Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Trump said: « You have two sides of it: In one case, you have sort of a spy deal going on, and then another case, you have somebody that’s exposing real corruption. »
« I won’t say which one, but I feel a little bit more strongly about one than the other….but I could have done it, » he said.
« I will say you have people on both sides of that issue. Good people on both sides, and you have some bad people on one side. But I decided to let that one ride, let the courts work it out, » the former president said.
Sharing a clip of those remarks, Snowden simply wrote: « Body language. »
Though that comment is cryptic, Snowden may have been referring to the fact that Trump crossed his arms and appeared uncomfortable at one point during his answer to Owens.
Snowden later retweeted a post from Bekah Congdon, vice-chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas, who also shared the clip of Trump’s comments.
« There is almost nothing I agree with Candace on, but props to her for being the first person I’ve seen ask Trump about his spinelessness on @Snowden& Assange, » Congdon wrote.
« Would have loved a follow up, but at least it shows that he knows he could have done the right thing but chose not to, » she added.
Assange is facing extradition to the U.S. on espionage charges related to the leak of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011. He is currently seeking to appeal the decision of a U.K. court that he can be extradited.
During his last weeks in office, Trump issued a slew of pardons and there was speculation that Snowden would be a beneficiary. The issue divided Republicans, however, some of whom believe Snowden to be a traitor.
Trump also once called the NSA whistleblower a « traitor » and a « spy who should be executed » but later appeared to soften on the issue, signaling openness to a pardon that ultimately never came.
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