Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney Opposes Pardoning CIA Whistleblower Edward Snowden
Wyoming Republican U.S. House Rep. Liz Cheney said Sunday she opposes the presidential pardoning of former intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"Edward Snowden is a traitor," Cheney said in a tweet.
"He is responsible for the largest and most damaging release of classified info in US history," she said. "He handed over US secrets to Russian and Chinese intelligence putting our troops and our nation at risk. Pardoning him would be unconscionable."
Cheney is among those in Congress who oppose pardoning Snowden, a former contract worker for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency who leaked their secrets to certain mediums.
However, other Republicans have taken the opposite position, according to the British publication The Independent.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wrote Snowden deserves a pardon because all he did was "'expose unconstitutional spying," according to the Independent.
U.S. Rep. Matt Goetz, R-Fla., wrote Trump "'is listening to the many of us who are urging him to #PardonSnowden. It's the right thing to do.'"
Goetz also noted that "'The Cheney ideology supporting forever wars puts more troops at risk than @snowden ever did.'"
In August, President Donald Trump floated the idea of who was charged under the Espionage Act in 2013 with disclosing details of highly classified government surveillance programs, according to The Associated Press.
“There are many, many people — it seems to be a split decision that many people think that he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things,” Trump said of Snowden at a news conference in August. “And I’m going to take a very good look at it.”
Trump had previously had denounced Snowden as a spy who deserved to be executed. The president has distrusted the intelligence community in part because of its conclusion that Russia intervened on his behalf in the 2016 election, according to The Associated Press.
Soon after Trump announced he may pardon Snowden, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he would be “vehemently opposed” to that.
Snowden and his family have permanent residency in Russia, but he has requested Russia citizenship status without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.