Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the prosecution of National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday — her first public remarks on the scandal since Snowden came forward.
The former head of the House Intelligence Committee accused Snowden of violating both the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for leaking classified information on far-reaching NSA phone and Internet surveillance programs.
“On the strength of leaking that [information], yes, that would be a prosecutable offense, and I think that he should be prosecuted,” Pelosi told reporters.
Pelosi hesitantly suggested the controversial PRISM program could have aided intelligence officials prior to the 9/11 attacks.
“Certainly it would have improved the chances of doing that. I can’t say with certainty that it would have, but it certainly would have improved the chance,” she said. “It did give more opportunity to surveil.”
The congresswoman emphasized the contrast between the warrantless programs of President George W. Bush and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act court-approved surveillance of the Obama administration.