Senator Paul wants light punishment of Snowden for NSA leaks

Rand Paul speaks at the LPAC conference in Chantilly, VirginiaThe public debate over the fate of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden intensified on Sunday with conservative Senator Rand Paul calling for a light prison term as punishment for Snowden’s disclosure of information on government surveillance programs. Paul, a Republican, said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that Snowden does not deserve the death penalty or life in prison for the leaks, which have rattled the U.S. intelligence community, not to mention an American public that had been unaware of the extent of NSA data collection. Instead, Paul spoke favorably of “some penalty of a few years in prison” if Snowden were to return to the United States from Russia, where he currently is living, to face trial. Paul, a freshman senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party favorite who has his eye on running for president in 2016, made his remarks a few days after a New York Times editorial said Snowden had done the United States “a great service” in divulging details of NSA surveillance.

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