Rep. Justin Amash, (R-Mich.), a prominent NSA critic, said Sunday that Edward Snowden is a "whistle-blower" who brought to light intelligence-gathering programs that much of Congress would not have otherwise heard of.
“Without his doing what he did, members of Congress would not have really known about [those programs]," Amash told Fox's Chris Wallace. "Members of Congress were not really aware on the whole about what these programs were being used for and the extent to which they were being used. Members of the intelligence committee were told, but rank-and-file members really didn’t have the information.”
“So, you still consider him a whistle-blower?” Wallace asked.
“Yes,” Amash said, adding, “As I said, he may be doing things overseas that we’d find problematic, that we’d find dangerous ... we’ll find those facts out over time. But as far as Congress is concerned, sure, he’s a whistle-blower. He told us what we need to know.”
Others in Congress have been less complimentary of Snowden. House Speaker John Boehner said in June that he was a "traitor," while Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Snowden had committed an act of treason.
A Quinnipiac poll found that 55 percent of American voters view Snowden as a whistle-blower, while 34 percent view him as a traitor.