Republican Rep. Peter King of New York and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont don't see eye to eye on government surveillance, and those views were contrasted Sunday as the two debated on "Meet the Press."
"Edward Snowden is a defector and a traitor," King said. No agency is more monitored than the National Security Agency, and it is essential to security, he said.
Snowden, the NSA contract employee who has revealed some of America's spying efforts after fleeing to Hong Kong, and eventually Russia, sparked debate after his revelations made known that the government is making huge data sweeps of Americans' phone, email and other records as part of its efforts to fight international terrorism.
"I don't think everyone has to know what a spy agency is doing; by the nature of a spy agency, that's how it works," King told host David Gregory.
"Of course we need a spy agency," Leahy said, "but let’s make it accountable to the American public."
"The Founding Fathers would be astounded to see what the NSA and others are doing," Leahy told Gregory. "It's not Snowden; I think he's irrelevant in all this."
Leahy said the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs will hold a hearing in January on NSA surveillance program. Members of President Barack Obama's President’s Review Group which recommended 46 changes will testify, he said.
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