Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday appeared to call for NSA leaker Edward Snowden to face a light punishment of a few years in prison instead of the death penalty or a lifetime prison sentence for disclosing information on secret government surveillance programs.

Speaking with “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, the libertarian firebrand said that because Snowden exposed programs that may be unconstitutional he does not deserve to be disciplined with a long prison sentence or the death penalty.

Watch Sen. Rand Paul’s comments (begins at around 5-minute mark):

Instead, Paul, who is widely expected to launch a bid for the White House in 2016, spoke favorably about a lenient form of punishment to get Snowden to return to the U.S.

“Do I think that it’s okay to leak secrets and give up national secrets and things that could endanger lives?” he rhetorically asked. “I don’t think that’s okay either.”

“But I think the courts are now saying what he revealed what something the government was doing was illegal,” Paul continued. “So I think personally he probably would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison.”

The comments come just days after Paul announced that he is filing a class-action lawsuit against the NSA for “snooping on the American people.”

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