Move Over, Gandhi, Snowden Is Up for a Nobel Peace Prize

Those media leaks could fetch him a handsome prize, but the competition is pretty stiff.

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in December 2013 in an undisclosed location in Moscow. (Photo: Barton Gellman/Getty Images)

Jan 30, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

India's paragon of pacifism, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but he never actually won the esteemed international honor.

He led the South Asian country to rise against oppressive British colonialists for national independence, inspiring leaders of peace movements from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela.

Yet, while he was alive, Gandhi was snubbed four times in bids for the Nobel—including in one year when no award was given. He was assassinated before the committee had one last chance to consider his final nomination.

So what are the odds that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden can win it?

Two Norwegian politicians who penned his nomination tell The Guardian Snowden deserves it because his whistleblowing "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order" by revealing a massive American surveillance apparatus that has peeked into the records of world leaders and peons alike.

Politicians Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen—both in Norway's Socialist Left Party—called Snowden's act a “critical contribution” to peace and stability.

Professor Stefan Svallfors, who tried to nominate Snowden last year but missed the deadline, also said the award would help rectify a past wrong:

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 incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama [the] 2009 award.

Former prize recipients are among those who can suggest a candidate for the prize. Nominators can also be politicians, members of international courts, university professors, or people who were formerly involved with the prize selection committee.

The sum awarded varies, but most recently it was about $1.2 million—enough to buy Snowden a small island, perhaps, which he might like after his one-year asylum in Moscow runs out.

Snowden has scooped up other honors since his globe-shifting media leak, including an award given by a bunch of other whistleblowers.

The nomination comes as American officials scramble to respond to allegations of overreach in the spy program.

During a live web chat last week, Snowden said, “Even the president now agrees our surveillance programs are going too far, gathering massive amounts of private records on ordinary Americans who have never been suspected of any crime.”

While it’s true that President Barack Obama has called for better oversight, he told The New Yorker this week that “the benefit of the debate (Snowden) generated was not worth the damage done, because there was another way of doing it.”