When Donald Trump’s transition team announced on Friday that Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas would be the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency, tech site ArsTechnica reported:
Pompeo has taken a particularly hard-line stance on how to treat NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. After Snowden’s allies began a campaign to get him pardoned, the entire House Select Committee on Intelligence wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging against a pardon. The letter said Snowden was no whistle-blower, but rather a “serial exaggerator and fabricator.”
At that time, Pompeo issued his own press release, calling Snowden a “liar and a criminal,” who deserves “prison rather than pardon.”
In February, Pompeo appeared on C-Span’s Washington Journal.
Here’s part of what he said (emphasis added):
It’s absolutely the case that we have not been able to secure all the American information that we needed to, and that we’ve had the traitor Edward Snowden steal that information. He should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence for having put friends of mine, friends of yours, who served in the military today, at enormous risk, because of the information he stole and then released to foreign powers.
It should be noted that Pompeo’s new boss Donald Trump has also said that Snowden should be executed.
Snowden responded to Trump’s choice of Pompeo as CIA Director and also Jeff Sessions appointment as Attorney General on Twitter Friday:
In September I explained why If Edward Snowden isn’t a whistleblower, there’s no such thing, noting that “Snowden currently has no appropriate due process avenues open to him.”
Politifact confirmed this: “The Espionage Act of 1917 makes it a crime punishable by death or imprisonment to share ‘information relating to the national defense’ with anyone who might want to do harm to the United States… Snowden faces two counts of unauthorized communication under that law.”
“If you believe Snowden shouldn’t have done what he did, you’re also essentially saying we should trust our government, no matter the abuse. You’re saying it would be better to still be in the dark about these NSA practices,” I wrote.
“Edward Snowden is a whistleblower—the classic definition—and deserves to be treated as such by the U.S. government.”