Former CIA Director James Woolsey, known for having strong words about Edward Snowden, said this week that the National Security Agency whistleblower deserved to be "hanged by the neck." Woolsey, speaking to CNN Thursday, blamed Snowden for the recent Paris terrorist attacks that killed 129 people. He said Snowden was a "traitor" for leaking classified NSA information in 2013.
His comments came after CNN host Brooke Baldwin said that the Paris killers allegedly used encrypted apps to hide their messages as they were planning the massacre. She suggested the attackers knew to protect their communications because Snowden had revealed the extent of government monitoring, then asked Woolsey for his thoughts, the Hill reported.
Woolsey said he thought Snowden should be brought back from Russia to the United States and convicted of treason. "It’s still a capital crime, and I would give him the death sentence, and I would prefer to see him hanged by the neck until he’s dead, rather than merely electrocuted,” said Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993 to 1995.
Woolsey has been outspoken this week about Snowden, telling NPR that the whisteblower's 2013 data dumps reduced authorities' ability to use intelligence. "I think Snowden has blood on his hands from these killings in France," Woolsey added. International Business Times noted in previous reporting that former White House spokeswoman Dana Perino also blamed Snowden for the Paris attacks.
Current CIA director John Brennan had similarly harsh words, though he didn't mention execution. At a panel Monday, Brennan said, "In the past several years, because of a number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists, there have been some policy and legal and other actions that are taken that make our ability collectively, internationally, to find these terrorists much more challenging," according to the New Yorker.