On New Year's day, The New York Times published an editorial calling for the U.S. to offer NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden "a plea bargain or some form of clemency." On the same day, the London-based newspaper The Guardian published an editorial arguing that Snowden should be offered "the pardon he deserves."
Last night, BuzzFeed reported that an increasing number of members of Congress are coming round to the idea that the government should work on a clemency deal that gets Snowden, who is currently in Russia, back to the U.S.
"I've come to the conclusion that he's more of a whistle-blower than a villain," Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern told BuzzFeed. "I've kind of wrestled with his actions for quite some time because part of me would like to think that in this country there is a process in place where people can do the right thing and not get punished for it. The more I learn about his particular case I'm not sure there was a process in place where he could have presented what he found out and actually changed things."
"I'd rather have him in the U.S. than have him in Russia, and maybe there is an opportunity to work out some sort of a deal," he added. "I think the outrage people in the administration have expressed toward Edward Snowden ought to be more focused on how the NSA broke privacy laws."
McGovern tweeted on Thursday that the Times editorial was "thoughtful" and that he "agreed with much of it."
Florida Rep. Alan Grayson went further, tweeting simply "Give him clemency," along with a link to a story about Snowden.
Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont said the U.S. should be "flexible" with Snowden and was sharply critical of the NSA's actions.
Of course, not all members of Congress believe that Snowden should be offered clemency in order to get him back to the U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) denounced the Times editorial, saying that the newspaper is "a 'blame America first' rag," and that "They go out of their way as to be apologists for terrorists," which is rich coming from a man who has spoken out in support of terrorists himself, as long as they were of the Irish republican variety.
Watch King's comments below: