Journalists and news outlets who publish articles based on leaked information, such as those disclosed by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, should face legal ramifications, New York Rep. Peter King told CNN's Anderson Cooper
"If they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially something of this magnitude," King said.
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King also said journalists have a "moral obligation" when it comes to reporting news based on classified information.
"There is an obligation, both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security," King said.
Glenn Greenwald, the New York-born journalist who broke Snowden's story for The Guardian in London, tweeted Tuesday night that he was in disbelief at King's words.
"Is it true, as I was just told, that Peter King on CNN called for criminal prosecution of journalists reporting the NSA stories?" Greenwald asked on Twitter.
King, a New York Republican, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism, also had strong words for Snowden, who he believes put Americans' lives at risk by releasing information concerning the National Security Agency's gathering of Americans' cellphone and Internet data.
"He's violated the Espionage Act, so in my mind, that would make him a traitor," King told Cooper.
King isn't the only Republican lawmaker who believes Snowden to be a traitor. On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner also said Snowden betrayed the United States, telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos
, "The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it's a giant violation of the law."
On Monday, King had said that Snowden should be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law" after admitting he was the one who leaked the controversial information, and that he should be extradited to the United States as soon as possible.
On Sunday, King called on other countries to deny asylum to Snowden, a former technical engineer with defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, who fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii, and who has since left the hotel he was holed up in in the Asian country.
"The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum," King said. "This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence."
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