Snowden Has a Few Defenders on the Hill
Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old defense contractor who leaked details on the National Security Agency’s phone and data surveillance programs, faces numerous calls from powerful members of Congress for his prosecution. But a few not-so-powerful members think he should go free — and more are calling for changes in the law.
“I’m not a lawyer, but based on what I know so far, I don’t think he should be prosecuted,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, a self-styled libertarian, told CQ Roll Call on Monday. “If someone reports illegal activity as a whistle-blower, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.
“Whether or not this program was authorized by Congress, it seems to me that this is an unconstitutional activity,” he continued, “which would make it illegal, and he should have some kind of immunity.”
Massie said the first step was seeing whether relevant amendments could be considered in relation to the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal 2014, set for House floor consideration later this week. The next step, he said, could be through the introduction of formal legislation.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., was taking the lead on the initiative, Massie continued, and Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., was helping push an amendment that would specifically prohibit Americans to be detained indefinitely if they are suspected to be involved in supporting terrorist activities.
Massie said the amendment could be linked to the possible repercussions Snowden might face for disclosing classified information to the press.