Snowden Plans to Vote in U.S. Presidential Election While Exiled

Edward Snowden addresses an ACLU-sponsored event in Hawaii / AP
September 16, 2016

Edward Snowden said on Friday that he plans to vote in November’s presidential election despite remaining exiled in Moscow after leaking a cache of top-secret U.S. National Security Agency documents.

Snowden, who spoke by video at a conference in Athens, confirmed that he "will be voting," but refused to disclose which candidate would receive his backing, the Associated Press reported.

"As a privacy advocate I think it’s important for me … that there should never be an obligation for an individual to discuss their vote. And I won’t be doing so with mine," Snowden said.

"What I will say about the candidates is that I’m disappointed we’re not hearing much about the constitution in this election cycle. We’re not hearing very much about our rights," he continued.

Snowden thanked human rights groups for seeking a pardon from President Obama.

"I’m not actually asking for a pardon myself because I think the whole point of our system and the foundation of our democracy is a system of checks and balances," he said ahead of the opening of the movie Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

A Republican-led House intelligence committee released a report on Thursday calling Snowden a "serial exaggerator and fabricator" and urged Obama not to pardon the NSA leaker.

"Mr. Snowden’s claim that he stole this information and disclosed it to protect Americans, privacy and civil liberties is undercut by his actions," the lawmakers wrote. "Rather than avail himself of the many lawful avenues to express legal, moral, or ethical qualms with U.S. intelligence activities, Mr. Snowden stole 1.5 million classified documents from National Security Agency networks."

Snowden’s attorney condemned the committee’s report and called him a "genuine American hero."