The New York Times and Guardian newspapers call for clemency for Edward Snowden

The New York Times and Guardian newspapers have called for clemency for Edward Snowden, saying that the espionage worker-turned-privacy advocate should be praised rather than punished for his disclosures.

Snowden's revelations about the United States' world-spanning espionage activities have ignited a global debate over civil liberties and surveillance. But his mass disclosure of top-secret data has earned him spying charges in the U.S., and he has settled in Russia following an abortive attempt to flee to Latin America.

In editorials, the Times and the Guardian — both of which have published material from Snowden's intelligence trove — backed Snowden's decision to go public and said the 30-year-old deserved praise for his action, not prosecution.

U.S. officials and Snowden's Russian lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday.