Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Hoyer: No Reprieve for Edward Snowden

Getty Images File Photo

(Barton Gellman/Getty Images File Photo)

Some public officials might be softening on Edward Snowden, but not House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer.

At his weekly briefing with reporters on Tuesday morning, the Maryland Democrat said he didn’t believe that Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked to the press sensitive information about the organization’s surveillance programs, should receive any reprieve should he wish to return to the United States.

Snowden is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum.

“Ellsberg didn’t go to the Russians, he didn’t go to the Chinese,” Hoyer said of Daniel Ellsberg, a U.S. military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. “Mr. Snowden chose to expose very, very critical information to the world and I think he needs to come back and answer to those consequences.”

Hoyer continued:

“Think the consequences might be different than they would have been six months ago … I think we cannot have people who are doing secret clearances go to foreign governments, particularly hostile governments, and exposing information … Has Snowden raised serious questions? He has. Are there going to be debates about those serious questions? There will be. Are there concerns about the role that the National Security Agency plays in terms of collecting information? There is. Will all that be considered? It will be. But I don’t think Snowden can be exculpated from the actions that he took clearly in violation of the law and in violation of his oath [and] security clearances … To do so would encourage others to do similar, perhaps with even more devastating consequences.”

  • Peter gelezius

    I assume as long as the administration leaks classified information,it all right.
    This man risked his future to tell us that we have a government agency gone rogue

  • Quendrith Johnson

    Time to reframe the clemency discussion…

  • pitch1934

    Hell, Cheney and his cohorts outed an active CIA agent. I’m still waiting for “charges” to be brought against his grumpiness.

  • Ronny

    Daniel Ellsberg was lucky, the government got caught trying to denigrate him and thus his defence by breaking into his psychiatrists office in an effort to make Ellsberg look mentally unstable, the case was dismissed. So trying to use Ellsberg as an example of how the system works or that staying to face face his accusers (who were actually accused by Ellsberg’s evidence) is ridiculous. Hoyer is a prime example of the intellectual deficiency of the governments argument against Snowden, not to mention that under the Espionage act EJS is severely limited in his ability to defend himself, not to mention the total inadequacy of the Whistleblower laws to protect a WB who does stay and use the WB system, which are designed like a venus fly trap for WBs not as a protection for them or an effective means to legitimately complain or make a report on wrong doing by the government.
    This failure by the government to enact a proper and safe way to do the above makes it (the leaks to the press) the governments fault, and therefore EJS should not face any charges.

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