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Leaders balk at Snowden's clemency plea

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 7:21 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The White House and leaders of the intelligence committee in Congress are rejecting National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's clemency plea.

“Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law,” White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on Sunday about the former systems analyst turned fugitive who has temporary asylum in Russia.

“He should return to the U.S. and face justice,” Pfeiffer said, adding when pressed that no offers for clemency were being discussed.

Snowden made the plea in a letter given to a German politician and released on Friday. In his one-page typed letter, he asks for clemency for charges of leaking classified information about the NSA to the news media. “Speaking the truth is not a crime,” Snowden wrote.

Snowden's revelations, including allegations that the United States has eavesdropped on allies including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have led to calls to cease such spying and moves by Congress to overhaul surveillance laws and curb the agency's powers.

But the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said if Snowden had been a true whistle-blower, he could have reported it to her committee privately. “That didn't happen, and now he's done this enormous disservice to our country,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., contended that Snowden's revelations had caused three terrorist organizations to change how they communicate.

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