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
The newspaper said the U.S. government should offer Snowden "a plea
bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return
Senator Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate,
also on ABC, said Snowden should return to stand trial but that the
United States should not offer a plea bargain to him.
Schumer said a trial could help clarify several issues, including
whether the vast amounts of data being collected by the NSA actually
help the United States root out terrorists and how much damage
Snowden's leaks have done to American intelligence agents.
[to top of second column]
Last month, a federal judge criticized the NSA's metadata
counter-terrorism program, saying that he could not imagine a more
"indiscriminate" and "arbitrary invasion."
The Obama administration on Friday appealed that court's ruling:
that the NSA's gathering of Americans' telephone records was
(Reporting By Richard Cowan; editing by Bill Trott and Steve
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