NSA whistleblower Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize


US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (R) arrives alongside a military official at a US military Magistrate Court facility for an Article 32 hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland on December 18, 2011.


Saul Loeb

Here's some uplifting news for ex-contractor and fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, who's stuck in limbo in a Moscow airport: A Swedish sociology professor nominated the leaker of National Security Agency information for the esteemed peace prize in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Professor Stefan Svallfors of Umea University claimed "Snowden has — in a heroic effort at great personal cost — revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance" and made "the world a little bit better and safer."

Snowden, still in search of political asylum, is not the first United States whistleblower to be recommended for the prize. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who received the peace prize in 1976 for her work in Northern Ireland, recently nominated Pfc. Bradley Manning, currently on trial for allegedly passing classified US government documents to WikiLeaks.

It's unlikely Manning will receive the prize, and it's impossible for Snowden, at least this year. While Svallfors wrote "the 2013 Peace Prize" should be awarded to the former defense contractor turned NSA leaker, the deadline for submission was this past February.

Svallfors went on to say in his letter that should the committee give Snowden the Nobel Peace Prize, it could reclaim its reputation, tarnished in his eyes when the prize was given to President Barack Obama in 2009, while the US was engaged in two wars.

"The decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would — in addition to being well justified in itself — also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that [it] incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award US President Barack Obama 2009 award," Svallfors wrote. "It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavour by the world's dominant military power."