'Pardon Edward Snowden' Petition Ignored By White House for 3 Months

Petitions significantly under 100,000-signature threshold given responses in the meantime.

A woman demonstrates in support of former NSA employee Edward Snowden on July 27, 2013, in Berlin, Germany.
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The Obama administration has ignored for three months the "Pardon Edward Snowden" petition on the White House website, which passed the 100,000-signature threshold earning an official response June 24.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council, assured U.S. News Wednesday the petition will eventually receive a response.

"The comment I sent [previously] stands," she said.

"Response times vary," Hayden told U.S. News on Aug. 23. "Each petition that crosses the threshold of 100,000 signatures will be reviewed by the appropriate policy staff and receive a response."

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Despite ignoring the petition in favor of the National Security Agency whistle-blower who exposed massive phone and Internet surveillance programs, officials have awarded responses to petitions well under the 100,000-person requirement.

Two of the three most recent responses were issued for petitions with fewer than 30,000 signatures – one addressing pediatric cancer and another regarding atheists in the military.

Critics of the petition-hosting section of the White House website allege it's merely a gimmick that allows officials to pick and choose issues to maximize positive press coverage, rather than a true forum for citizens to present their views for official consideration.

Snowden was granted temporary asylum by Russia Aug. 1 and has shunned publicity since leaving Moscow's international airport. It's unclear why the White House has delayed its response to the petition urging a full pardon for Snowden. The White House responded in August to a pardon request from WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, previously known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, saying the former Army intelligence analyst's appeal would be considered like any other.

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