McKeon: Clemency for Snowden ‘unacceptable’

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said that the damage NSA leaker Edward Snowden had done to the U.S. military made the prospect of granting him clemency “unacceptable.”

McKeon’s committee received a classified briefed Wednesday by a panel including Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, on the classified Pentagon report detailing the damage caused from Snowden’s leaks.

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McKeon and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Emerging Threats subcommittee, said after the briefing that the leaks put the lives of troops at risk, echoing the testimony of top intelligence officials to Congress that Snowden has aided terrorists.

“The damage he has done to our military and national defense programs is not the mark of a whistleblower,” McKeon said.

“He’s given enemies an edge and put our warfighters at risk,” he said. “Americans should demand brought to justice for his crimes and dismiss any discussion of deal-making or clemency as absolutely unacceptable.”

The lawmakers and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have said the majority of Snowden’s stolen documents detail sensitive Pentagon operations, and not just the National Security Agency surveillance programs that have been disclosed publicly.

But neither Congress nor the intelligence community has produced any evidence explaining how Snowden’s documents could harm current U.S. military operations.

Clapper said at a Senate last week that terrorists have “gone to school” on the information Snowden has disclosed about NSA surveillance.

“The majority of the information he transferred had nothing to do with the NSA, but instead specifically worked to compromise the military capabilities and defense of the country,” Thornberry said. “While it’s difficult to discuss the details of what we learned, it’s fair to say members left the briefing disturbed and angered.”

McKeon and Thornberry did not take any questions after reading their statements following the briefing. McKeon said afterward he could not elaborate because it was highly classified.

“I can’t tell you what I’ve seen, but I can tell you from what I’ve seen… it’s very serious,” McKeon said.