June 10th, 2013
08:06 AM ET
11 months 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. Rick McDaniel

    The danger to national security, is the government, who seeks to obtain absolute power from the people, and render the people powerless.

    June 10, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. Beverly

    This Snowden sounds as if he went to work at NSA with the intention to leak this information. Don't believe he just suddenly felt the need to inform the public

    June 10, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    The danger to national security, is the government, who seeks to obtain absolute power from the people, and render the people powerless.
    -------------–
    You/re just dissappointed that the truth doesn;t fit the conspiracy theory that the right wing has been painting. That's all.

    June 10, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  4. Clay

    I'm glad he did this the fourth Amendment is at stake here and this is Unconstitutional to this country I knew when Bush signed the Patriot Act was going to get worse what's bad enough is Obama hasn't done anything to prevent it. It doesn't Matter what side of the fence you're on. It's what side you believe in is. Privacy is everyone's right and everyone isn't a target

    June 10, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    How did a high school dropout get 2 jobs dealing with National Security???

    June 10, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  6. Marie MD

    @rick. as always clueless. This Snowden goes to a communist country to escape being arrested for reason.
    You don't give up national security and then run like the coward he is to a communist country. He is probably a spy for the Chinese. Like we need them to have more information and takeover, thanks #43 and companies and people like the twit, who already own most of our country and we are in debt to for gazillions of dollars.
    I agree with Rudy NYC and I might add that tea trolls were fine with paying taxes and getting money from the government until 2008! This started with your village idiot so your point, as usual, is moot.

    June 10, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  7. Bessy

    Rudy NYC
    You/re just dissappointed that the truth doesn;t fit the conspiracy theory that the right wing has been painting. That's all.

    That guy doesn't care any more about the truth than any of the other flunkies that spiel such garbage. His " Gods " , Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Fox News tell him different and that is all he knows. Just another loser.

    June 10, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  8. Borderless

    @Beverly

    He wouldn't know about the information until after he got his security clearance and began working with the CIA.

    Thinking's hard.

    June 10, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. steve

    What is a 29yo with a GED doing with security clearance. CIA contractor cutting corners with qualified personnel?

    June 10, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, Pete, what do you propose? Hiring some of your IRA buddies as a hit squad to take him out?

    June 10, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    Borderless

    Thinking's hard.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It sure is but it's so worth the effort. Perhaps he went to work at the CIA to see what he could find. Additionally, he left the CIA in 2009, and any information that he leaked would have come from before then, so it's gonna be a little difficult to blame President Obama.

    June 10, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    This is one of the few times I agree with Rep. King.

    June 10, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Clay

    I'm glad he did this the fourth Amendment is at stake here and this is Unconstitutional to this country I knew when Bush signed the Patriot Act was going to get worse what's bad enough is Obama hasn't done anything to prevent it.
    -------------------
    None of this is new news. Try googling headlines from May 2006. You'll see that the same accusations leveled against the Bush administration being defended by many of the same Republicans who defend the program now.

    June 10, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. A Kickin` Donkey

    He`s got to go dowm. I don`t usually agree with King but he is correct.

    Every Democrat needsa to get behind Mr. Snowden going to jail for a long time. Mr. Obama has taken the false mantle of GOP superiority regarding National Security away. As rightwing regurgitators [like Rick] try to demonize the agministration Democrats need to be strict, firm, patriotic and hold Manning, Snowden and all leakers responsible for their transgressions.

    June 10, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." – Benjamin Franklin

    June 10, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    steve

    What is a 29yo with a GED doing with security clearance. CIA contractor cutting corners with qualified personnel?
    ----------------
    The Bush administration created what is arguably a second Department of Defense, the Deparment of Homeland Security. It's currently running an annual budget of close to $200 billion, which includes close to 45 departments. Many of the work is done by nearly 500 contractors working on contracts worth $100 million or more.

    In other words, there are a LOT of people with access to a slice of top classified information. Some estimates put the number in excess of 1.5 millioin people, most of whom are contractors.

    June 10, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. ja

    the danger is self gratifying politicans, cittizens, and soldiers looking for fifteen minutes of fame and a book deal, if you can't ball stay out of the game

    June 10, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is this the same guy that is on the cover of USA Today saying that he "did nothing wrong", and yet he's hiding in Hong Kong? Is it? Jerk.
    These leaks that compromised our national security occurred precisely because nothing 9/11-ish has occurred under this President. Things are being leaked that need not be leaked in order to create mayhem for this administration.
    IMHO.

    June 10, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. sonkarlay

    king is right, who knows what he been saying or doing since

    June 10, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You know when things get rough, as they are wont to do in life, it sure would be nice to just pick up the pieces of one's life and MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY and start fresh. But that kind of thing takes money. Lots of it. I wonder who's funding this man's convenient "defection"?
    Democrats stop being scared and stand together and unite behind this issue.
    There was mal intent involved in this so-called "leak" of information in my opinion.
    If Obama won't come to the mountain there are those who are hellbent on bringing the mountain to Obama.
    Open your eyes.

    June 10, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Mallory Archer wrote:

    It sure is but it's so worth the effort. Perhaps he went to work at the CIA to see what he could find. Additionally, he left the CIA in 2009, and any information that he leaked would have come from before then, so it's gonna be a little difficult to blame President Obama.
    --------------–
    Taa Daa! Seriously? Snowden left the CIA four years ago?

    It is not being pointed out enough in the media that this, and other surveillance programs like Prism, were approved and overseen by Congress. Don't blame President Obama for continuing a program enacted under Pres. Bush.

    I think the concurrent problem with the monitoring of the AP speaks volumes. The administration sought court approval BEFORE it began eavesdropping on the content of communications, which is in full accordance with the law. The administration also notified the targets of the surveillance, which is also in accordance with the law. Both the AP and News Corp have known that some of the operations were under serveillance for well OVER a year.

    June 10, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama: "Things are being leaked that need not be leaked in order to create mayhem for this administration.
    IMHO."

    I agree. And would add that Benghazi didn't harm Hillary as much as GOPerville had hoped for. Thus, we now get the puppet masters pulling strings on BOTH sides of the aisle. Seems to be working quite well. I say this as a non party observer. Hold onto your hat. Things are going to get much nastier. GOPers have no where else to go but further down the barrel. They've locked themselves into a narrative and aren't going to budge. I also suspect that GOPerville wants nothing more than another "threat" to be carried out. This is nothing but a red herring (from the media, the GOP, and the TeaParty) and we all know it. Oh, yeah. And Mr. Rand Paul thinks this is his meal ticket to the White House. Too funny.

    June 10, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Don in albuquerque

    Treason is still treason. You start spilling your guts to foreign countries or giving them free access to info all you should get is a short rope. I don't care if you work for faux news, or are the village idiot.

    June 10, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. sonnie3

    Corruption runs deep in Washington these days. If only America would wake up and vote the lazy self serving bums out of office and get term limitations ruled in. To stop corruption we need people willing to serve with no pension for a max time of 12 years. No pension, no perks, this is a service to America just like the Armed Services. After your term is up you will be on obama care just like the rest of us. WE DON'T NEED LIFE TIME PERSONS IN CONGRESS. The people in congress need to be change at times, just like a babys diapers, and for much the same reasons.

    June 10, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Let me add. The Republican Party lost me years ago. That being said, I will support Democratic social issues, and to be frank, neither party has proven to be fiscal hawks anymore, therefore, the argument that the GOP is going to reduce a budget THEY keep expanding falls on empty space. I would even support the 2nd Admendment (to a point) if only the GOP didn't come across as simple minded fools spouting nonsensical talking points. Prove you have the mentality to own a "gun" and I'll side with you ... otherwise.

    I do take National Security seriously enough to understand the stakes are huge. Democrats lose me with their "freedom" speak just as the GOP loses me with THEIR "freedom" speech. I applaud the media for blurring the fine lines to suit their own purposes.

    June 10, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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