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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Commentary: How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

Reuters Commentary | Tue Sep 20, 2016 

Commentary: How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

The days leading up to last Friday’s release of director Oliver Stone’s Snowden looked like one long movie trailer.The American Civil Liberties Union and other human-right groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents to journalists. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon and claimed Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security.”
The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie in Washington. I once worked in an NSA facility, and I’ve written about the agency for decades, so I was surprised and pleased by how successful Stone was in creating an accurate picture of life in the NSA.
He did a remarkable job of capturing the sense of how rare, difficult and risky it is for anyone in the agency to challenge the ethics and legality of its operations. I was astounded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s doppelganger-like portrayal of Snowden. At one point in the film, when the real Snowden appeared, it took me a moment or two to realize the switch.

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