Senator Feinstein calls leak 'treason'
I was surprised by Feinstein's vehement condemnation of leaker Snowden. If anyone knows the nuts and bolts of the surveillance programs, it's the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and her stinging rebuke makes me think there's more to that program than even Snowden may know.
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is guilty of treason, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Monday.
"I don't look at this as being a whistle-blower," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.) said. "I think it's an act of treason."
The whereabouts of Snowden were unclear Monday as authorities ramped up an investigation that could lead to his extradition and prosecution.
The White House ducked questions about Snowden even as it came under conflicting pressures from across the political spectrum to either prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law or show leniency.
Republican lawmakers urged the Obama administration to extradite Snowden "at the earliest date" possible, after he revealed on Sunday that he was responsible for one of the largest intelligence leaks in U.S. history.
Democrats like Feinstein also said the source behind the leak of the NSA's Internet and phone surveillance programs must be prosecuted.
"He took an oath -- that oath is important," she said. "He violated the oath, he violated the law. It's an act of treason in my view."
Snowden was said to be in Hong Kong when he revealed himself as the source, but on Monday he had checked out of his hotel there, according to reports.
"I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted on Monday.
"I would prosecute him," House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Monday on Fox News. "If you are a whistle-blower, you don't leave the United States. You don't go to a communist country."
But the White House is also getting pressure from liberals and libertarians who have criticized the NSA's spying programs and want Snowden to be pardoned.
Given Obama's instincts, I would think he'd pardon Snowden as he was leaving office - if we catch up to him and are able to bring him back to stand trial. He's gone black and unless we get the cooperation of governments from countries where he might hide out, we may not capture him.