A pair of Norwegian lawmakers have nominated former National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Snorre Valen and Baard Vegar Solhjell, two Norwegian parliamentarians, nominated Snowden for the award, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin.
Valen and Solhjell believe Snowden is worthy of the peace prize due to the “public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing,” which the pair claim have “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
The Nobel Committee will award the prize to an individual or an organization in October. The committee doesn’t disclose the names of individuals who are nominated, though Bloomberg notes that sometimes they are revealed by those who nominate them.
Snowden fled the United States last summer after disclosing thousands of classified documents on NSA spying programs. He was en route to Cuba when his passport was revoked by the U.S. government, stranding him in Russia. He is believed to be holed up somewhere in Moscow.
Last summer, the Department of Justice brought charges against Snowden under the 1917 Espionage Act. Recently, some lawmakers have expressed interest in offering Snowden a plea deal should he return to the United States.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said he would be open to discussing a plea deal that would bring Snowden home. Snowden’s legal advisors say the whistleblower would want the Department of Justice to offer him complete amnesty with regard to leaking the classified documents, something Holder said would be “going too far.”
Though it’s unclear how many documents Snowden obtained while working as a government contractor — some journalists say “thousands” while the U.S. government claims “millions” — a new report on an NSA program or ability has popped up nearly every week since last June.
On Monday, new documents released by the New York Times and ProPublica revealed that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, are able to gather personal data from various phone apps, including Rovio’s hit iPhone game “Angry Birds.” Such data the NSA appears interested in includes a player’s “location, age, sex and other personal information,” the Times reported.
Also on Monday, NBC News reported that documents showed GCHQ agents are able to directly tap into cables that transmit Internet traffic around the world, allowing agents to spy on how users interact with a handful of websites in real time, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
[Photo by Flickr user Abode of Chaos]