Rand Paul: Edward Snowden, James Clapper should share a cell

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Rand Paul,NSA,Ashe Schow,Edward Snowden,Janet Napolitano,James Clapper

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday said National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden deserves leniency, and suggested he should share a prison cell with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Paul, speaking with ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, said Clapper and Snowden both broke the law in different ways, and should both face appropriate penalties.

While Snowden broke the law, he doesn't deserve the death penalty or life in prison because his leaks ultimately benefited Americans, Paul said.

“Do I think that it’s okay to leak secrets and give up national secrets and things that can endanger lives? I don’t think that’s okay either,” Paul said. “But I think the courts are now saying that what he revealed was something the government was doing that was illegal.”

Paul said Clapper, for lying to Congress, hurt U.S. credibility and made Americans believe that the government is listening to phone calls even when administration officials say they are not.

“I don’t think that we can selectively apply the law,” Paul said. “James Clapper did break the law and there is a prison sentence for that. So did Edward Snowden.

"Maybe if they served in a prison cell together we’d become further enlightened as a country over what we should and shouldn’t do,” he said.

But on NBC's “Meet the Press,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Snowden does not deserve clemency because his leaks “exacted quite a bit of damage.”

When host David Gregory asked if Snowden should receive clemency in order to encourage him to return to the U.S. and not reveal any more NSA secrets, Napolitano whiffed.

“Well, I think that would require more intimate knowledge of what he allegedly has, but from where I sit today, I would not put clemency on the table at all,” Napolitano said.

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