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Rand Paul: Snowden And James Clapper Should "Share A Prison Cell"

STEPHANOPOULOS: This issue of clemency for Edward Snowden also back in the news this week. The New York Times weighed in. They said that it should be considering. Here's what they wrote, "considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service."

I am trying to figure out where you stand on this. A couple of months ago we talked about this. You said that you didn't know enough then. But on Friday you said it might be a good idea for Edward Snowden and James Clapper, the head of national intelligence, who you believe perjured himself before the Congress, to share a prison cell.

So is clemency for Snowden now off the table as far as you're concerned?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): 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 a law and there is a prison sentence for that. So did Edward Snowden.

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, because that's what he faced.

Do I think that it's OK to leak secrets and give up national secrets and things that could endanger lives?

I don't think that's OK, either.

But I think the courts are now saying that what he revealed was something the government was doing was illegal.

So I think personally, he probably would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison, which would be probably not you look 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.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're smiling now, but you've taken a lot of heat for making that comparison. I just want to clarify here. So you're saying no clemency for Edward Snowden, but perhaps leniency?

PAUL: Well, I think the only way he's coming home is if someone would offer him a fair trial with a reasonable sentence. But I don't think the death penalty -- I mean we've had people all over the news, some of the same people who are defending James Clapper lying to Congress are saying off with his head or he should be hung from the nearest tree.

I don't think that's appropriate. And I think, really, in the end, history is going to judge that he revealed great abuses of our government and great abuses of our intelligence community and that James Clapper, in lying to Congress, really seriously destroyed the credibility of our intelligence agencies. And even though I actually give them the benefit of the doubt -- I don't think James Clapper is a bad person. I think he's a patriotic person who wants to stop terrorism. So I don't think he's a bad person.

But by lying to Congress, he's made us doubt and believe that maybe the government could be listening to our phone calls, even though they tell us they're not.

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