NSA

Rand Paul Calls For Snowden To Receive Light Prison Term

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Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called for NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden to receive a light prison sentence.

When asked by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about the New York Times' editorial calling for Snowden to be granted "a plea bargain or some form of clemency" on This Week Paul said:

I don't think Edward Snowden deserves the death penalty or life in prison. I think that's inappropriate. And I think that's why he fled, because that's what he faced.

Paul also said that he doesn't think it's ok to leak national secrets that could put lives at risk.

Paul went on to say that Snowden "probably would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison," adding that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "probably deserves" a similar sentence for lying to Congress.

The lie Paul referred to took place during a Senate hearing in March, 2013. At that hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper replied "No sir." When Wyden responded "It does not?" Clapper said that the NSA does "not wittingly" collect the amount of data Wyden referred to. Clapper has since apologized for his response, calling it "clearly erroneous."

Watch the exchange below:

Paul has filed a class-action lawsuit against the NSA "to say to the government and to the NSA, No, you can't have our records without our permission or without a warrant specific to an individual." Ken Cuccinelli, the former Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, will be a legal adviser for the suit.

Unsurprisingly, Paul's comments on the NSA have been criticized by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who says that Paul "doesn't deserve to be in the United States Senate" and that he "does not know what he's talking about."