Former Republican Lincoln Chafee announced his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, and immediately set a new marker in the race by calling for National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to be allowed to come home.

Coming only a day after the Senate passed the first limits on U.S. surveillance in four decades, Chafee’s call was another reflection of how Snowden’s startling revelations about the intrusiveness of the U.S. government’s electronic spying dragnet two years ago have changed the nation’s political climate on questions of security and privacy.

Snowden nevertheless remains marooned in Russia and charged with espionage by U.S. government officials who seek his arrest and long imprisonment.

Chafee served as Rhode Island’s governor and as one of its U.S. Senators. He broke from the GOP over the Iraq war.

His remarks about Snowden came as he outlined a foreign policy considerably more in line with historic American norms than the ones pursued by either the current or immediately past president.

“I want America to be a leader and an inspiration for civilized behavior in this new century,” he said. “We will abide by the Geneva conventions, which means we will not torture prisoners.

“Our sacred Constitution requires a warrant before unreasonable searches, which includes our phone records. Let’s enforce that and while we’re at it, allow Edward Snowden to come home.”

He continued: “Extrajudicial assassinations by drone strikes are not working. Many blame them for the upheaval in Yemen. And Pakistan is far too important a place to antagonize with these nefarious activities. They are not worth the collateral damage and toxic hatred they spread. Let’s stop them. ”

Watch his announcement here:

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)