In office Mr. Trump was stung repeatedly by grandiose government leakers who thought they stood above the democratic process. That description also fits Mr. Snowden, who never formally registered complaints about U.S. intelligence policies while contracting for the government, but has since made himself a celebrity with claims of moral righteousness.

But Mr. Trump seems to be in a mood to break things as his term comes to a close, and Mr. Snowden’s defenders have sought to appeal to the President’s suspicion of the U.S. intelligence agencies to entice him toward a midnight pardon. The likes of Roger Stone and Senator Rand Paul suggest that Mr. Snowden is a useful figure in Mr. Trump’s campaign against the intelligence establishment.

It would be a travesty if the President fell for this. The victims of Snowden-style treachery are ordinary Americans, not Mr. Trump’s “deep state” foes. A pardon for Mr. Snowden’s behavior would invite more of it.