White House responds to Edward Snowden petition

Story highlights

  • A petition to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden got more than 150,000 signatures
  • A top Obama adviser responded to the petition that Snowden should return to the U.S. to face justice

(CNN)The White House rejected a petition to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden and a top Obama adviser said Snowden should return to the U.S. to face the consequences of his decision to disclose classified information about American intelligence gathering.

The statement from the White House was released Tuesday in response to a petition with more than 167,000 signatures asking President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden, who in 2013 leaked documents about the government's mass surveillance programs to journalists.
"He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers -- not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime," said Lisa Monaco, the President's adviser on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. "Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."
    The White House said if Snowden's main concern was the nation's security, there's a process he should follow.
    "If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and -- importantly -- accept the consequences of his actions," Monaco said.
    The president has worked with Congress to balance the protection of civil liberties to keep Americans safe, Monaco said.
    "Mr. Snowden's dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it," she said.