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Sunday Shows: Snowden's Defenders Speak Out

On the Sunday shows, Edward Snowden's legal adviser made a case for amnesty. And House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers disptued the NYT's Benghazi report.
Posted at 1:59 PM, Dec 29, 2013

This week, a rare visit to the Sunday shows by those defending Edward Snowden.

BEN WIZNER: "I mean, this is what the framers of the Constitution were worried about."

And reaction to The New York Times' exhaustive report on the Benghazi consulate attack.

CHRIS WALLACE: "The Times' report directly contradicts what you've been saying."

For National Journal, I'm Zach Toombs. In the past week, Edward Snowden was uncharacteristically outspoken. And that seems to have polarized opinions of him even further. On CBS, former NSA chief Michael Hayden and former whistleblower Thomas Drake both weighed in.

HAYDEN: "I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason."

DRAKE: "I don't consider him a traitor at all, I consider him a whistleblower. He exposed the extent of the surveillance program."

NBC's "Meet the Press" sat with Snowden's legal advisor, Ben Wizner of the ACLU — who compared Snowden's actions to those of political leaders who got off without punishment.

WIZNER: "There's a lot of people in this town, including some who have been on your show, who have been given amnesty. We just don't call it that. Lying to Congress is a crime. Torturing prisoners is a very serious crime. ... Society decides for one reason or another to look forwards rather than backwards."

And leading The New York Times Sunday edition, this lengthy report on 2012's Benghazi consulate attack. According to the piece, it was indeed an American anti-Islam film, and not al-Qaeda involvement, that prompted the incident. That's in line with what White House officials originally said. But it contradicts investigations cited by Republicans like Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

CHRIS WALLACE: "What did they get wrong?"

ROGERS: "That al-Qaeda was not involved in this. ... There was aspiration by al-Qaeda and their affiliates to plan an attack. ... I think it proves that that story's just not accurate." (Via Fox News)

And ABC "This Week" finished 2013 by sitting down with a man who's increased his profile perhaps more than any other American politico this year: Ted Cruz. And, predictably, he had no regrets. (Via ABC)

CRUZ: "I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown. ... Repeatedly, Democrats said 'No compromise, shut it down.'"

That claim, despite House Speaker John Boehner's own admission that it was a Republican-led shutdown. Cruz also blamed the media for misrepresenting his efforts.