U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a strong supporter of national defense, was vocal on Twitter over the weekend about her opposition to calls for a pardon for Edward Snowden.
“Edward Snowden is a traitor,” Cheney wrote in a tweet on Sunday, discussing the possibility of Snowden being pardoned by President Donald Trump, who has said before that he would “strongly” consider pardoning the whistleblower.
Snowden leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 to a number of reporters and has been living in Russia ever since, expressing concerns for his safety and security.
“He is responsible for the largest and most damaging release of classified info in US history,” Cheney wrote in her tweet. “He handed over US secrets to Russian and Chinese intelligence putting our troops and our nation at risk.”
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property, but as Snowden is now a Russian resident, he cannot be extradited to the United States.
Snowden has been a controversial figure in his home country ever since he leaked the NSA documents, with some like Cheney calling him a traitor and others referring to him as a hero for revealing that the NSA was surveilling civilians.
Over the weekend, politicians including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union made pleas to Trump to issue a pardon for Snowden before he leaves office.
Cheney questioned the wisdom of such a move.
“Pardoning him would be unconscionable,” she concluded in her message.