On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said that he believed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, whom Russia granted asylum for a year last week, was a “whistle-blower” and not a “traitor.”
Amash, in a debate with former National Security Agency and CIA Director Michael Hayden, said Members of Congress would not have known about the NSA’s surveillance programs had it not been for Snowden because most members “were not really aware, on the whole, about what these programs were being used for.”
He said what Snowden may be doing overseas could be “problematic” and “dangerous,” and more information will be discovered over time.
“As far as Congress is concerned, he’s a whistle-blower,” Amash said.
Hayden said that a whistle-blower was someone “who raises concerns within our government” and there is no evidence that Snowden alerted supervisors or Congressmen about what he knew prior to leaking to the media. He said he disagreed with the 55% of Americans in a recent poll that said Snowden was a “whistle-blower.”
Hayden said, “what he did was not tell the appropriate authorities.”
“And he told the world, including our enemies,” he said.
Hayden said Snowden has ultimately “made it more difficult” for America’s national security officials to “keep America safe.”
Amash recently backed an amendment, which was defeated, that would have denied funding to some of the NSA’s more controversial surveillance programs and barred the agency from collecting metadata from all Americans.