Hillary Clinton said during the CNN Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday that Edward Snowden shouldn't come back to the United States "without facing the music," arguing that Snowden could have "gotten all the protections of being a whistleblower."
"He broke the laws of the United States," Clinton said of the National Security Agency leaker, who is currently living in Russia. "He could've been a whistleblower. He could've gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could've raised all the issues that he has raised and I think there would have been a positive response to that. In addition, he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don't think he should be brought home without facing the music."
In a speech she gave in New Hampshire in April of 2007, Clinton criticized the country's whistleblower protection laws, saying they were not adequate to encourage government employees who were "afraid to step forward."
In the speech, Clinton argues that, during the Bush administration, "you've seen one scandal after another at our agencies."
"And while whistleblowers play a critical role in alerting us to behavior like this, our whistleblower protection laws don't give people adequate protection," she said. "And too many are afraid to step forward."
Clinton went on to argue that "we need to expand whistleblower protections" and to guarantee them "a true day in court."
"We need to expand whistleblower protections to ensure that people who do the right thing are rewarded not punished," she said. "That means protecting their anonymity and protecting those who aid them as well. It means guaranteeing whistleblowers a true day in court. It means making sure those who are vindicated get real relief including compensation, coverage of attorney's fees, and the option to transfer jobs because no one should be afraid to hold our government accountable."
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Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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