Feinstein stands by labeling Snowden a traitor

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lashed out at the National Security Agency on Monday after learning it spied on foreign leaders, but she still thinks NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor.

“I’ve said what I’ve said. I stand by it,” Feinstein told The Hill Tuesday when asked about her past comments on Snowden.

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Feinstein said that Snowden had committed “an act of treason” in June after the former NSA contractor revealed he had leaked troves of classified NSA documents.

“I don't look at this as being a whistle-blower. I think it's an act of treason,” Feinstein said in June. “He violated the oath; he violated the law. It's treason.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman has been a defender of the NSA’s phone surveillance programs, which were initially leaked by Snowden, while saying that some changes could be made. Her committee is marking up legislation on the NSA in a closed session Tuesday.

But Snowden’s leaks also led to the revelations that the NSA had been spying on dozens of foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2002.

Feinstein issued a statement Monday slamming the NSA for the surveillance of leaders of U.S. allies, calling for a “total review” of the intelligence community’s spying programs.

“The problem is the Congress has no knowledge; the intelligence committees have no knowledge,” Feinstein said Tuesday. “And it seems to me that collecting content on allied leaders who are good friends is not something that we should do, without presidential authority.”

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