Many others, however, were critical of Snowden. In comments to CNN and other media outlets, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) blasted Snowden and called him a "defector" who should be punished to the "fullest extent of the law.
"If Edward Snowden did, in fact, leak the data, as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date," King said. "The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.
Other lawmakers, including Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), too, called for Snowden's immediate prosecution.
Obama and the director of the national intelligence agency, James Clapper, both previously criticized the leaker for exposing what they have claimed is information that could jeopardize national security interests.
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