Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) is urging President Barack Obama to grant amnesty to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Shortly after a townhall meeting in his suburban Sacramento district, McClintock told a local news affiliate that the government should grant Snowden amnesty so that he would be free to answer questions about the NSA spying programs without the threat of prosecution.
“We have some very good laws against sharing secrets and he broke those laws,” McClntock told KCRA, a Sacramento-based news station. “On the other hand, he broke them for a very good reason because those laws were being used in direct contravention of our Fourth Amendment rights as Americans.”
McClintock expounded upon those comments yesterday during an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station KABC.
“What Edward Snowden did was to provide the American people and Congress with evidence that we had been specifically denied when [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper lied under oath to the Congress and denied the existence of this mass gathering of data of Americans,” McClintock told host KABC.
“That is a direct and flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment. Edward Snowden called them on it. Yes, there are some very good laws against leaking classified information; they out to be enforced,” explained McClintock. “On the other hand, if they are enforced in cases of gross violation of our constitutional rights, that becomes a death sentence for the Constitution.
“If they Constitution is being systematically subverted by our own government and we’re not even allowed to be told about it, that is a step too far,” he added.
McClintock noted that the power to grant amnesty to Snowden lies in the hands of President Obama. He also spoke about some of the concerning actions taken by the administration to crack down on journalists.
The California Republican again explained that the government had lied to its own citizens about the existence of surveillance programs, further noting that the spying goes is more extensive than Obama Administration officials have admitted.
“The Guardian, and I believe this was also through Snowden’s leaks, broke the story of the XKeyscore program, in which NSA analysts are very clearly, routinely perusing the content of Americans’ emails without warrants,” noted McClintock. “And then we’re told, ‘Oh, it’s just being used against terrorists.’ And then we learn from Reuters last week that information from these warrantless and indiscriminate searches is routinely turned over to domestic police agencies, which then use this Orwellian process called ‘parallel construction’ to hide from the courts and from the defendants and from the juries, the warrantless origin of this information.”
“My hat’s off to Edward Snowden for blowing the whistle,’ he added.
McClintock has cast himself as a rare, though emerging breed of liberty-minded Republicans concerned not just about fiscal issues and over-regulation, but a very strong civil libertarian streak. United Liberty spoke to him back in February about civil liberties, ObamaCare, and much more.