07:49 GMT26 February 2020
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    US presidential candidate Marco Rubio has openly announced his intention of having former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden stand trial for treason.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Senator and Republican Party presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has labeled whistleblower Edward Snowden a "traitor" during debates and vowed to bring him to court for treason.

    "Edward Snowden is a traitor. And if I am president and we get our hands on him, he is standing trial for treason," Rubio said late Thursday in the sixth GOP debate in North Charleston, South Carolina.

    Rubio's remarks were pointed at opponent and fellow Senator Ted Cruz, who has previously called Snowden’s revelations of mass government surveillance in the United States and abroad a "public service."

    Cruz changed his stance on Thursday, saying the former US NSA contractor was a "traitor" who "should be tried for treason."

    Snowden is wanted in the United States for leaking a trove of classified government documents detailing NSA and other intelligence agencies carrying out widespread mass surveillance programs.

    Public opinion in the US is divided over Snowden’s actions, with some hailing the whistleblower as a defender of the US Constitution, while others denounce him for damaging national security.

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    treason, presidential candidate, Edward Snowden, Marco Rubio, United States
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