"Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs," the petition says.
The petition has until July 9 to reach 100,000 signatures, the number needed to be addressed by the Obama administration.
However, many in Congress are calling him everything but a hero.
"I think he's a defector or traitor - take your pick," said Rep. Peter King, R-NY, according to CNN. "What he's done is incredible damage to our country; it's going to put American lives at risk. I don't know how he can live with himself. A traitor is as good a term as any. I think he violated the Espionage Act."
Snowden was working at the Hawaii office of Booz Allen Hamilton, a private intelligence contractor that works for the National Security Administration, where he obtained top secret government material and released it to the news publication The Guardian.
The story broke on June 5, causing a major uproar in what many have described as the biggest intelligence leak in American history.
"I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," Snowden said to The Guardian.
President Obama has defended the government surveillance program, saying the specific targets are not American citizens, but foreign nationals, and believes that specific "safeguards" put in place in the surveillance help his administration fight terrorism.
Snowden was last seen in a hotel in Hong Kong on Monday. The federal authorities are looking for him and his computer to investigate what other information he has obtained.
According to the Associated Press, Russia's Kommersant Daily reported that Moscow said it may provide asylum for Snowden. Other countries that Snowden might attempt to escape to include: China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea or Iceland - none of which have extradition agreements with the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit with the Obama administration Tuesday, "asking the government to halt phone-tracking programs that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans," calling it "unconstitutional" and cites the heads of the NSA, FBI, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice as violators of the First and Fourth Amendment, according to the Associated Press.
A Philadelphia couple has also filed a lawsuit, alleging the government singled them out for their criticism of the U.S. Army following the death of their son who was a Navy SEAL. They are claiming $3 billion in damages
Snowden's massive top-secret information leak comes at the same time as Army Pfc. Bradley Manning faces court martial in his information sharing to the website Wikileaks in 2010.
Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
How do you think Edward Snowden should be treated by the U.S. government following his top-secret leak?
Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:
Thursday, April 17 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:29:44 GMT
Miley Cyrus has postponed her concert Friday at Bridgestone Arena after the singer was hospitalized this week due to a severe allergic reaction. The concert has been moved to Aug. 7, and all tickets forMore >>
Miley Cyrus has postponed her concert Friday at Bridgestone Arena after the singer was hospitalized this week due to a severe allergic reaction.More >>
More than a dozen horses and a mule rescued during an animal cruelty case are on the mend. They were in bad shape when a rescue group stepped in. "They're eating continuously, which is good," said DedeMore >>
More than a dozen horses and a mule rescued during an animal cruelty case are on the mend.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:51:37 GMT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee could electrocute death row inmates if lethal injection drugs are unavailable under legislation that's headed for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk. The Senate votedMore >>
Tennessee could electrocute death row inmates if lethal injection drugs are unavailable under legislation that's headed for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:50:27 GMT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The testing component of Tennessee's Common Core education standards would be delayed a year under legislation headed to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk. The measure was sentMore >>
The testing component of Tennessee's Common Core education standards would be delayed a year under legislation headed to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.More >>
Officials from two counties are responding to a reported explosion at a company that creates a wide range of explosive products. The explosion was reported at Accurate Energetic Systems, 5891 Highway 230More >>
One person was killed and three others were injured in an explosion at a factory that makes ammunition near the Hickman-Humphreys county lines.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:09:39 GMT
Virgin Hotels has announced it will be opening a hotel in Music City. The 240-room hotel is expected to open in 2016 with the address of One Music Row. Virgin Hotels Nashville will have restaurant concepts,More >>
Virgin Hotels has announced it will be opening a new hotel in Music City. The 240-room hotel is expected to open in 2016 with the address of One Music Row.More >>