Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The Editorial Board of the New York Times has weighed in on the criminal charges facing Edward Snowden and writes that "Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight." "He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community." The president said in August that Snowden should come home to face charges in court and suggested that if Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower. In fact, notes the editorial board, the executive order regarding whistleblowers did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Snowden. More important, Snowden told The Washington Post that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the NSA, and that they took no action. "Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not." "When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government," concludes the editorial. "President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home."