The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

White House petition to pardon Edward Snowden gathers steam

More than 54,000 people are petitioning the White House to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who has admitted leaking information about the nation's classified surveillance programs.

The petition, launched late Sunday afternoon, gathered more than 54,347 signatures by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday..

"Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs," the petition reads.