Former CIA Director James Woolsey told Fox News on Tuesday he feels strongly that Edward Snowden should not be given amnesty and said the NSA whistleblower should be hanged if ever convicted of treason.
"I think giving him amnesty is idiotic," Woolsey told Fox News in an interview.
"He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."
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Woolsey's harsh words came in response to another NSA official's suggestion that Snowden be permitted back in the U.S. in exchange for a pledge to end further leaking, as reported by The Guardian
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton, who also spoke with Fox News, called that idea a "grave error."
Snowden posted an "open letter to the people of Brazil"
Tuesday, in which he offered to help uncover U.S. surveillance of the Brazilian people.
"I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so — going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!" he wrote.
For its part, The White House stance on the matter is unchanged.
"It remains our view that Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and that he faces felony charges here in the United States," Carney told reporters Tuesday.
But senior NSA official Rick Ledgett, who is examining the impact of Snowden's leaks, told CNN that he would like to speak with Snowden to stop further classified information from being released.
The NSA's practice of checking mobile phone records and watching Internet use by millions of people around the world has come under fire, in light of the scandal. The NSA maintains that the surveillance is legal, though that hasn't helped when it comes to public sentiment.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama's personal panel of experts recommended that the NSA end its method of collecting phone records of virtually every American, deeming it "not essential to preventing attacks."
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