Lawmakers Exercise Caution As Edward Snowden Details Come Out | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Lawmakers Exercise Caution As Edward Snowden Details Come Out

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In some circles, former security contractor Edward Snowden is being hailed as a hero for revealing a highly classified program that allows the government to freely collect the data of innocent American citizens. Other people say Snowden's actions are treasonous.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski says both sides of the debate should be cautious until more details come out.

"I think the jury is out on Mr. Snowden," she says.

Mikulski sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She expects hearings into the leak and the secret surveillance program to be revealing.

"We are going to go through a whole series of hearings," says Mikulski. I think the American people have a right to know the purpose of the program, is it constitutional, is it legal, and is it dishonorable."

Snowden used to work for the National Security Agency, but he was a government contractor when he leaked the NSA's secret surveillance program.

Currently, nearly half a million contractors have top-secret government clearances. Some lawmakers are exploring ways to limit the amount of classified intelligence private contractors can access.

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