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Snowden publishes 'manifesto' as White House, lawmakers deny plea for clemency

WikiLeaks via AFP - Getty Images file

An image grab taken from a video released by Wikileaks on Oct. 12, shows U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow on Oct. 9. Snowden warned of dangers to democracy in the first video released of the fugitive since Russia granted him temporary asylum in August.

A German news magazine published a manifesto Sunday by former U.S. intelligence contractor-turned-runaway Edward Snowden as he pleaded with the U.S. government for clemency.

In the statement, titled "A Manifesto for the Truth" and published by German news magazine Der Spiegel, Snowden said current debates over mass surveillance in countries across the globe have showed his revelations were helping to bring about change.

"Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested," he wrote.

Snowden, who currently has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, said telling the truth should not be considered a criminal offense.

"Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public," he wrote. "Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime." 

Snowden also opined in the manifesto that mass surveillance is a global problem which requires a global solution.

"We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit surveillance programs and protect human rights," he wrote.

Also on Sunday, the White House and elected officials scoffed at Snowden's request for clemency.

His official request for clemency was released Friday after Snowden gave the one-page typed letter to a German politician.

"Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law," White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer told Reuters. "He should return to the U.S. and face justice."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. and Chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Snowden has done an "enormous disservice to our country" by leaking information about the National Security Agency (NSA), including its alleged mass scanning of emails to the tapping of world leaders' phones.

"I think the answer is no clemency," she said.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said clemency for Snowden is a "terrible idea." 

"He needs to come back and own up," said Rogers, R-Michigan.

Snowden said in the letter that he hopes to receive international support to stave the U.S.'s "persecution" of him.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.