WASHINGTON - Members of Congress said Sunday that they were not impressed with Edward Snowden's recent publicity blitz calling for an end to mass surveillance and declaring that he's already accomplished his mission.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) acknowledged that Snowden has kindled an important public debate, but he said the former National Security Agency leaker should have stayed in the United States to demonstrate the courage of his convictions.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Snowden's release of classified documents jeopardized the safety of troops in Afghanistan and gave nations such as China and Russia valuable insight into how U.S. intelligence services operate. "That's who the messenger is," Rogers said.
The two, speaking on Fox News Sunday, were responding to Snowden's recent comments from Russia in an interview with the Washington Post that he was working to make the NSA better, not tear it down. Snowden also spoke in a video he released online.
Schiff said it struck him that Snowden spoke from "one of the foremost big brother states in the world, where he is living without any privacy, because there's no right or expectation of privacy in Russia whatsoever. So I don't find his message particularly moving or appealing."
Ben Wizner of the ACLU, who said he speaks regularly with Snowden over encrypted channels, said Snowden hopes to one day return to the United States. He said the charges brought against Snowden don't distinguish between leaks to the press and the selling of state secrets to a foreign enemy. "For now, he doesn't believe and I don't believe that the cost of his act of conscience should be a life behind bars," said Wizner, who was on Meet the Press.