Gillibrand: Snowden leaks are ‘criminal’ and show problems with outsourced security work

Gillibrand on 'Morning Joe.' ()
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said today that the leaks from N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden were "criminal," and should prompt a review of the government's willingness to outsource classified information.

"Well at a minimum his conduct is criminal," Gillibrand said on "Morning Joe."

"And I have very serious concerns about the structure we've put in place for our national security," she continued. "To have so much of our national security being outsourced to contractors, who may not have allegiance to our government, who may not be trained as our military and our governmental personnel are, is a serious question. I am gravely concerned about the degree by which we've given so much of our national security to outside contractors and I think that needs to be looked at very seriously, and actually restructured."

Gillibrand joined lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in criticizing Snowden, who at the moment is reportedly in Russia, which has yet to acknowledge the Obama administration's entreaties to expel him and return him to America.

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On the Sunday shows this weekend, Sen. Chuck Schumer, among others, made the case that Snowden should return to the United States to face the "consequences" for his actions, comparing Snowden unfavorably to Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. 

This afternoon, President Obama said his administration was "following all the appropriate legal channels" in pursuing Snowden, who is believed to have fled Hong Kong for Moscow, where he is reportedly awaiting asylum in South America.

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