Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked an abundance of government documents to journalists last year, is characterized by the United States government as a thief and a criminal.
A pair of Norwegian politicians think the NSA whistle-blower deserves a new title: Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen, who represent Norway’s Socialist Left party, have put forward Snowden’s name to the Nobel committee, they announced in a statement today. They argued that Snowden’s government surveillance revelations have made the world a safer place.
“There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term,” wrote Valen and Vegar Solhjell in a joint statement. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and change in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistle-blowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
Thousands of people worldwide can make Nobel nominations, including members of national parliaments or governments, previous laureates, and university professors.
Valen nominated anti-secrecy group Wikileaks in 2011. Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier serving a 35-year sentence for providing documents to Wikileaks, was nominated last year.
The five-member Nobel panel won’t confirm who has been nominated, but sometimes the nominators make their choices public. The committee received a record 259 nominations for the 2013 Peace Prize, which ultimately went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in October.
Nominators have until February 1 to enter their 2014 submissions to the committee, which will announce this year’s winner October 10. It would certainly be a strange turn of events if Snowden won the Peace Prize five years after President Obama received the award.