GOP lawmaker: Obama should grant leaker Snowden amnesty

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said the Obama administration should give National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden amnesty to get him to return to the United States.

"I think it would be best if the American government granted him amnesty to get him back to America where he can answer questions without the threat of prosecution," McClintock told Sacramento station KCRA after a town hall last week, in an interview flagged by Buzzfeed on Monday.

"We have some very good laws against sharing secrets, and he broke those laws," McClintock said. "On the other hand, he broke them for a very good reason, because those laws were being used in direct contravention of our Fourth Amendment rights as Americans."

Snowden, who is wanted on charges of espionage for leaking top-secret NSA documents detailing the agency's surveillance of phone calls and emails, is currently in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.

He's created a diplomatic dustup between Moscow and Washington, as Obama canceled a bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

While Snowden has received little support from lawmakers, his disclosures have prompted a major debate in Congress over the NSA's surveillance activities.

That led Obama last week to call for new reforms to the NSA's programs, pledging greater transparency and oversight.