Snowden has been charged in the U.S. with espionage-related crimes and is now living in Moscow under temporary asylum. Top U.S. officials have asked Russia to hand him over, after first assuring the former Cold War rival that Snowden wouldn’t be tortured or executed, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused, claiming Snowden has not broken any Russian laws.
When it comes to criminality, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Wednesday that he believes the head of U.S. intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is as guilty as Snowden is for “lying” to Congress about the NSA’s programs. Weeks after the first Snowden reports emerged, Clapper flatly told lawmakers that the U.S. does not collect information on millions of Americans – a statement that he was later forced to admit was “clearly erroneous.”
“I think the law is the law and they both broke the law and one shouldn’t get off scot free,” Paul told CNN.
In a surprising revelation, the NSA official put in charge of finding out just how much damage Snowden could do told CBS’s “60 Minutes” he thought the U.S. should offer Snowden amnesty – if only to put the lid back on the NSA’s cookie jar. Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, disagreed.
“This is analogous to a hostage-taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then saying, ‘If you give me amnesty, I’ll let the other 40 go,’” he said.