Edward Snowden, who made public the spying practices of the National Security Agency on Americans, is a "fraud" who does not deserve leniency for his actions if he returns to the United States, Rep. Peter King said.
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Snowden on Wednesday said he considered himself a patriot for exposing the mass data collection policies of the NSA. Living in Russia under temporary asylum, Snowden told Williams he wanted to come home to the United States.
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King, who sits on the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, said there should "absolutely not" be any leniency given to Snowden if he returned to the United States.
"I think this guy is a fraud," King told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday. "He's put American lives at risk, not just for the NSA, but also our military information which he's taken."
King said the NSA monitoring program was the "most scrutinized, carefully regulated, monitored system we have." He challenged Snowden to provide the "name of one American whose rights have been violated" by the NSA.
"The NSA has not taken anyone's information. They're not reading anyone's emails. They cannot listen to any phone calls whatsoever without the approval of the courts," the New York Republican said.
Snowden's revelations had put U.S. security in jeopardy, King said.
The congressman said there were "al-Qaida-affiliated organizations that have changed their means of communication, as a result of what has come out from Snowden."
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