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Gary Johnson: I Would Look Into Pardoning Snowden If I Were President

"I don't want to see him in prison."

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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson said in an interview on Thursday that he'd look into pardoning NSA leaker Edward Snowden if he is elected president.

"Well, by face justice, I don't want to see him in prison," Johnson told The Hardline on NewsMaxTV.

"If I were president of the United States, I would certainly look into actually pardoning Edward Snowden," Johnson continued. "This is someone who has divulged information that we would not know about currently and that's the United States government spying on all of us as U.S. citizens."

Donald Trump has called Snowden a "traitor," and Hillary Clinton has said he should face trial.

In the interview on Thursday, Johnson said that he agreed with former attorney general Eric Holder's comments that Snowden performed a "public service" by leaking U.S. intelligence secrets because his actions began a broader public policy debate on domestic surveillance.

"At the end of the day, really, I agree attorney general Holder's statement, it's pretty darn accurate," said Johnson of Holder's comments. He cited American Revolutionary era figures now hailed as heroes who were viewed differently in their time.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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