Former CIA Director James Woolsey has one wish for the holidays: for Edward Snowden to be tried for treason and “hanged.” That was Woolsey’s response to the suggestion of amnesty for Snowden.Of course, the National Intelligence Director can commit perjury and CIA officials can lie to Congress without nary an investigation let alone prosecution. Intelligence officials can run a torture program in violation of treaties and international law without punishment. CIA officials can openly destroy evidence so that it cannot be used against them in a criminal case and continue in office without penalty. The CIA director can even reveal classified evidence to a filmmaker working on a pro-torture movie. All of that is perfectly correct, but Snowden must die.
Woolsey was appearing with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton when he proclaimed that Snowden “should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”
Of course, Woolsey’s attitude toward holding CIA officials accountable is a bit more generous. When Congress demanded repercussions after the Aldrich Ames disaster on Woolsey’s watch, he refused and said “[s]ome have clamored for heads to roll in order that we could say that heads have rolled. Sorry, that’s not my way.” No, your way is hang whistleblowers while shielding intelligence officials.
After the Snowden disclosures, Congress has pledged reforms. The White House has admitted abuses. Now a federal judge has declared the entire program to be unconstitutional. Yet, Woolsey wants Snowden dead. Welcome back to America’s Animal Farm.