(CNSNews.com) - In the Democratic presidential debate on CNN on Tuesday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Edward Snowden should not be brought back to the United States "without facing the music" for his theft of classified information.
Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Clinton: "Secretary Clinton, [is Edward Snowden a] hero or traitor?"
Clinton responded: "He broke the laws of the United States. He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have 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 back home without facing the music."
At another moment in the debate, Cooper asked Clinton about the fact that she will be testifying next week in a congressional committee about conducting her email business as secretary of state on a private server.
“Well, I’ve taken responsibility for it. I did say it was a mistake. What I did was allowed by the State Department," said Clinton. "But it wasn’t the best choice. And I have been as transparent as I know to be, turning over 55,000 pages of my emails, asking that they be made public. And you’re right, I am going to be testifying. I have been asking to testify for some time, and to do it in public—which was not originally agreed to."
Clinton went on to accuse the House committee that is looking into her emails and investigatiing the attack on the State Department and CIA facilities in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, as being "basically an arm of the Republican National Committee."
Cooper asked her: "But Secretary Clinton, with all due respect, isn’t it a little bit hard for you to call this just a partisan issue. There’s an FBI investigation, and President Obama himself just two days ago said this was a legitimate issue."
"Well, I never said it wasn’t legitimate," said Clinton. "I said I have answered all the questions, and I certainly will be doing so again before this committee. But I think it would be really unfair not to look at the entire picture."
In a July 23 memo to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough said that his office's review of a "limited samply of 40 of the emails" from the 30,000 former Secretary Clinton had released "identified four emails containing classified IC information."
A subsequent memo that McCullough sent to members of Congress indicated that two of the emails from Clinton's server that his office had reviewed contained information that was classified as Top Secret.
“The congressional notification provided by the Intelligence Community Inspector General said more specifically that two of the four emails that the office had previously described as ‘above Secret’ were, in fact, classified at the Top Secret/SCI level,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said in a statement about McCullough's memo.
McCullough's memo said:“These emails, attached hereto, have been properly marked by IC classification officials, and include information classified up to ‘TOP SECRET//SI/TK/NOFORN.’"
Edward Snowden was an NSA contractor, who, as the New York Times would later put it, made a "decision to leak hundreds of thousands of highly classified NSA documents to selected reporters." He fled the country and ended up in Russia.
Snowden's leaks revealed that the NSA had been collecting the metadata on U.S. telephone calls in an effort to more effectively detect terrorists.