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White House Says It Won't Pardon Whistleblower Snowden

The White House has dismissed a petition calling on the United States to pardon fugitive government contractor Edward Snowden, whose revelations about spying prompted international outrage and damaged relations with key allies.

Responding to a petition with 168,000 backers on the White House website, President Barack Obama's homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco said July 28 that Snowden should face justice.

"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," she said. "Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."

Snowden sought asylum in 2013 in Russia after providing documents about the extent of the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance of internet and telephone records and spying on foreign allies.

The revelations prompted reforms to the U.S. surveillance program, but the White House has maintained that they were damaging to U.S. security.

Snowden's lawyer in Moscow said the White House refuses to pardon him for "political," not "legal" reasons.

Based on reporting by dpa and Interfax