Rand Paul launched an attempt to filibuster an extension of NSA surveillance powers Wednesday, but doesn’t back clemency for Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed the scope of the programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
If time heals all wounds, then Edward Snowden needs more time to get right in Washington.
Snowden is exiled in Russia, having been charged with espionage and no sign that President Barack Obama will grant him clemency.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul launched a long floor speech hoping to end the bulk data collection programs that Snowden exposed. Most of the bipartisan coalition of senators who aided Paul in relief did so while promoting a bill that would end one of the programs — the one collecting telephone metadata. And a few weeks ago, a federal court ruled the program violated the law.
But still, Snowden still sits alone. No senators on Wednesday said their perception of the former National Security Agency contractor had softened or changed since he two years ago leaked to the media data exposing the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
Comments around the Senate ranged from outright contempt to calling him a criminal whose actions may have led to some good. But no one defended him. Full story