The former secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano on Sunday added her voice to opposition to clemency or a plea deal being offered to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked thousands of documents on the agency's surveillance operations to media outlets including the Guardian.
Also on Sunday, the Republican senator Rand Paul, who has advocated a softer line on Snowden than many in his party, said he thought the whistleblower “probably would come home for a few years in prison”.
Earlier this week, the New York Times published an editorial calling for Snowden to be allowed to return to the United States. He is currently in Russia, where he was granted one year's asylum.
The editorial, entitled “Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”, called for the offer of “a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home” and said: “Mr Snowden is now … on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.”
"From where I sit today, I would not put clemency on the table at all," said Napolitano, who was homeland security secretary from 2009 to September last year, in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press. She added: "I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated that law. The damage we'll see now and we'll see it for years to come."