Former NSA leaker Edward Snowden should not receive amnesty of any type because of the profound damage he did to the United States, says former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
In an interview to be broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,’’ Napolitano said she strongly disagreed with The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which have argued that the United States should welcome him back with open arms because of the debate on national security that his theft provoked.
“I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated the law,” Napolitano said. “I think he’s committed crimes and I think that the damage we’ll see now and we’ll see it for years to come.”
The New York Times wrote in a Jan. 1 editorial that Snowden deserved “some form of clemency” or sharply reduced charges because he had essentially served as a whistle-blower to government abuse of its anti-terrorism surveillance powers.
Napolitano will lead a U.S. delegation to Russia for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Two bomb attacks last month in Russia raised fears that terrorists will target the games.
Russian authorities have said they are deploying 30,000 police officers in and around the Olympic site. Some analysts have suggested that could leave other areas vulnerable.
Napolitano said she shared that concern, and that the U.S. would work with Russia and the International Olympic Committee “as closely as we can” to ensure the safety of the games.
Muslim separatist groups are the leading suspects in the two suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that killed more than 30 people. Sochi is located on the Black Sea, about 435 miles (700 kilometers) southwest of Volgograd.
The U.S. delegation Napolitano is leading includes prominent American lesbian and gay athletes, including tennis player Billie Jean King and figure skater Brian Boitano.
Russia has faced criticism for adopting anti-gay laws. Napolitano said the makeup of the delegation was designed to “demonstrate that the United States is a very free and open and tolerant society.”
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