Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Leniency for NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

By Melanie Arter | January 6, 2014 | 2:20 PM EST

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)

( – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday, said he is in favor of leniency for National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden but against clemency.

“I don't think Edward Snowden deserves the death penalty or life in prison. I think that's inappropriate. And I think that's why he fled, is that's what he faced,” Paul said.

Paul proposed that Snowden and national intelligence head James Clapper – who Paul believes perjured himself before Congress – share a prison cell.

“So is clemency for Snowden now off the table as far as you're concerned?” Stephanopolous asked.

“No, the reason I said that is to make a point that I can't -- I don't think we can't selectively apply the law. So James Clapper did break the law and there is a prison sentence for that. So did Edward Snowden,” Paul said.

Paul doesn’t condone Snowden leaking national secrets and endangering lives, but he noted that the courts are saying what Snowden revealed was actually illegal government activity.

“So I think personally, he probably would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison, which would be probably not unlike what James Clapper probably deserves for lying to Congress and that maybe if they served in a prison cell together, we'd become further enlightened as a country over what we should and shouldn't do,” Paul said.