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Jeb Bush Rules Out ''Leniency' for NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

First Posted: Jul 07, 2015 01:52 PM EDT
Jeb Bush Opposes 'Leniency' for NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

Photo : Adam Berry/Getty Images

Jeb Bush may be among the strongest Republican contenders in the 2016 White House race, but he is unlikely to win support from Edward Snowden after he ruled out any "leniency" for the National Security Agency (NSA) leaker, CBS News reported.

The former Florida governor reacted to comments by recently retired Attorney General Eric Holder, who in an interview had suggested that a deal with Snowden was possible. The former NSA contractor's revelations about the government's bulk collection of private data "spurred a necessary debate" that prompted President Barack Obama and Congress make policy changes, Holder argued.

Bush said if he were to move into the White House, he would bring down the full force of law on Snowden, who has lived in Russia for the past two years since President Vladimir Putin's government granted him temporary asylum in the country.

"Snowden broke the law, recklessly endangered nat'l security, [and] fled to China/Russia," the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of President George H.W. Bush said in a Twitter post. "He should be given no leniency."

Bush's comments, meanwhile, sparked ridicule from Glenn Greenwald, the activist and writer for The Guardian who helped make Snowden's earliest disclosures public, New York Magazine noted.

"He's not asking for 'leniency,' [and] other than the 'China/Russia' part, this comment applies more to your brother," Greenwald tweeted.

Loretta Lynch, Holder's successor as attorney general, suggested that the Department of Justice's official position on the matter had not changed.

"This is an ongoing case, so I am not going to get into specific details," Lynch's spokeswoman, Melanie Newman, said. "But I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed."

If Snowden returned to the U.S., the former NSA contractor would face three felony charges. Prosecutors accuse him of theft of government property and two counts of violating the Espionage Act through unauthorized communication of national defense information.

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