June 10th, 2013
08:06 AM ET
2 years ago

King: 'Defector' Snowden is a danger to national security

(CNN) – The ex-CIA employee who admitted Sunday to leaking top secret information about America's surveillance programs is a "defector" who could still pose risks to U.S. assets overseas, Rep. Peter King claimed Monday.

King, a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee, added on CNN's "Starting Point" that Edward Snowden's claim he could have wiretapped President Barack Obama's own correspondence was a lie.

"No it is not true. And so much he said is untrue," King said. "This guy is dangerous to the country. He had, I think, real questions as to why he left the CIA."

According to the Guardian newspaper, which was the recipient of leaks from Snowden, their source was a computer security specialist at the CIA until 2009, later taking a job at the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He's currently holed up in a hotel room in Hong Kong, the Guardian said, taking steps to avoid being tracked by American authorities.

King said Snowden's current location was a worry, since Chinese officials may find him and demand more information about American security secrets. Hong Kong is part of communist-ruled China, but has a semi-autonomous government and an extradition treaty with the U.S.

MORE: Dem calls for 'reopening' the Patriot Act

"He knows who our intelligence assets are, who our intelligence agents are around the world, and the fact he has allowed our enemy to know what our sources and methods are is extremely dangerous," the New York Republican said. "I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I consider him right now to be a defector."

Extradition proceedings should being "as soon as possible," King said, though Justice Department officials say Snowden would first have to be charged before those discussions begin. King admitted the extradition process would be "confusing."

"My concern In the meantime is China could be holding him and getting information as to what he knows about our assets around the world," he said.


Filed under: NSA • Peter King
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Joe

    If someone from Cuba or from Russia had done what he did and traveled to the USA, our government would welcome him as a heroe.

    June 10, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Lynne Buchanan

    Prosecuted to the fullest extent? Are you kidding? He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever occurred. The most ethical guy in the room is a high school drop out who was brave enough to speak out to help Americans know that our government is spying on us! Really?

    Prosecute him for telling the truth? Prosecute him for not playing the game? And now claim that because he spoke up the bad guys will know how we operate? Really? The government is mining for data on ALL Americans (phones & emails AND voice conversations!), and we should be afraid of terrorists?

    June 10, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever occurred."

    Except it's been going on for almost a decade, since Bush was in office, and everyone already knew about it, including Congress.

    June 10, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Steveo

    @Joe

    If someone from Cuba or from Russia had done what he did and traveled to the USA, our government would welcome him as a heroe.
    -------------
    I believe you are correct BUT we would want to pull state secrets from the guy! The other point is no one from China has called him a hero!

    June 10, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Joe

    If someone from Cuba or from Russia had done what he did and traveled to the USA, our government would welcome him as a heroe.
    ----------------–
    ... and the Russians or Cubans would regard him as a defector. Taa Daa!

    June 10, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Thank you Obama for expanding the Patriot Act.

    NOT!

    June 10, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Sniffit

    "He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever occurred."

    Except it's been going on for almost a decade, since Bush was in office, and everyone already knew about it, including Congress.
    -----
    So you were OK with Bush doing it? I tend to doubt that. I wasn't

    June 10, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    @Lynne Buchanan

    Prosecuted to the fullest extent? Are you kidding? He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever The most ethical guy in the room is a high school drop out who was brave enough to speak out to help Americans know that our government is spying on us! Really?

    Prosecute him for telling the truth?
    ===================================
    Don't kid yourself – he betrayed his country. A person who agrees to accept a TS-CSI clearance takes an oath to never reveal top secret information. Breaking that oath isn't "telling the truth". All he leaked was known by our Congress and perfectly legal. Do you honestly believe that people who betray our government's strategic secrets are heros?

    June 10, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    ""He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever occurred."

    Except it's been going on for almost a decade, since Bush was in office, and everyone already knew about it, including Congress.
    -–
    So you were OK with Bush doing it? I tend to doubt that. I wasn't"

    Never said I was either....just pointing out how desperately flawed the attempts from the right are to paint this as somehow all Obama or that Obama somehow crossed a line that Bush never crossed. 22 Congressional briefings were held about these programs and the powers granted by the Patriot Act and FISA have been well knows and much debated since their inception, including when Bush performed his sweeping phone data gathering as well. All the "we didn't know anything" we're hearing from people trying to weave a narrative of this being an Obama problem...not a problem created by Congress under Bush that we've all know about for around a decade...is just partisan distractions. The focus should be on demanding the repeal of these laws and these powers, not trying to lynch political opponents with it.

    June 10, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Sw1ngState

    Some people think they're so clever using childish names as their handle and we're suppose to take him seriously? As for others, get your facts straight first. You want to blame this whole thing on the president as if he could just dictate something like this. Learn how it got here because even leaders from the GOP are downplaying it. Sen Graham said a few days ago he has a Verizon account and he is ok with it. Look it up if facts matter to you.

    June 10, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Sniffit

    ""He revealed the biggest overreach by our government that's ever occurred."

    Except it's been going on for almost a decade, since Bush was in office, and everyone already knew about it, including Congress.
    -–
    So you were OK with Bush doing it? I tend to doubt that. I wasn't"

    Never said I was either....just pointing out how desperately flawed the attempts from the right are to paint this as somehow all Obama or that Obama somehow crossed a line that Bush never crossed. 22 Congressional briefings were held about these programs and the powers granted by the Patriot Act and FISA have been well knows and much debated since their inception, including when Bush performed his sweeping phone data gathering as well. All the "we didn't know anything" we're hearing from people trying to weave a narrative of this being an Obama problem...not a problem created by Congress under Bush that we've all know about for around a decade...is just partisan distractions. The focus should be on demanding the repeal of these laws and these powers, not trying to lynch political opponents with it.
    -----
    You mean like democrats tried to do with Bush?

    June 10, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. What Now

    It doesn't appear to be complicated. This person signed on the dotted line for his security clearance and then proceeded to abandon his word. He ran to China (who knows what information he is providing them) and then tells the world he is the instigator. Hmmm....how convienient and good luck with the new book and speaking engagements.

    June 10, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8