The Justice Department’s criminal complaint against him was dated just days after Snowden’s name first surfaced as the person who had leaked to the news media that the NSA, in classified surveillance programs, gathered telephone and Internet records to ferret out potential terror plots.

“He was a traitor and the information he provided our adversaries greatly hurt the safety of the American people,” Barr said. “He was peddling it around like a commercial merchant. We can’t tolerate that.”