House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told members of Britain’s Parliament this week he wants to charge National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden with murder for revealing surveillance programs run by NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters.
“We are treating him, as I would argue, [like] the traitor that he is,” the Michigan Republican told Parliament’s House of Commons Tuesday, according to The Hill. “And by the way — and this is important — I would charge him for murder.”
The Obama administration has already leveled multiple espionage charges against Snowden for leaking a cache of classified documents detailing bulk surveillance programs to journalists last summer. Citing a heavily redacted, top-secret Defense Intelligence Agency report earlier this year, Rogers and House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger claimed Snowden’s leaks “concern vital operations of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.”
“This report confirms my greatest fears — Snowden’s real acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk,” Rogers said in January. “Snowden’s actions are likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field.” (RELATED: Pentagon Report Calls Snowden Leaks ‘Staggering,’ ‘Grave’)
Portions of the report released to the public describe the leaks as “staggering” and “grave,” despite the fact that numerous intelligence officials — including then-NSA Director Keith Alexander — have repeatedly said they only have a vague picture of what Snowden took.
“He took information that allows force protection, not only for British soldiers, but for U.S. soldiers, and made it more difficult for us to track those activities,” Rogers said Tuesday. “Meaning it is more likely that one of those soldiers is going to get their legs blown off or killed.”
“Anybody that provides information to the enemy is a traitor, period, pure and simple.”
Rogers also repeated his and other U.S. officials’ speculation that Snowden is working with Russia’s FSB security service or SVR foreign intelligence service to explain or undermine U.S. and British intelligence practices.
“Many don’t find it odd he is in the loving arms of an SVR agent right now in Moscow,” Rogers said. “I do.”
Earlier this summer Snowden had his temporary Russian political asylum extended until 2017. Talks between Snowden’s Russian and U.S. lawyers and the Obama administration for reduced charges and a return to the U.S. are ongoing.