June 10th, 2013
08:06 AM ET
1 year 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. impact0900

    And here I always thought King was a danger to National Security.

    June 10, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Repealing the Patriot Act would go a long way in restoring citizen trust in the governement.

    June 10, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "This man is the hero that will change the face of the US government. Let the Revolution begin!

    BTW – What are the Vegas odds that the IRS audits him next year?"
    ====
    Yeah, massive security breach of OLD NEWS by a Ron Paul whackjob with a chip on his shoulder because he couldn't make it into the special forces...super heroic. What are the odds the IRS won't give a crap about auditing him because he'll be in federal prison by the end of the summer?

    June 10, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Joe

    "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear" argument only works when it's someone else being harrased by the government. When it's you being investigated for saying something negitive about the government, you'll wish you had your liberty back. Next thing you'll know, they'll be issueing speeding tickes based off our GPS in our cars! Judge me not yet you be judged. Well, we're judging you Uncle Sam and we don't approve! Give me liberty or give me death.

    June 10, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Steve

    So the smear campaign starts by the unamerican coward, Rep King.

    June 10, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. lolo

    Either he wanted 15 minutes of fame of the GOP paid him off. Otherwise he is a traitor to his country. He needs to be hiding, because I would throw him in jail. These people do not know if they want to be protected or not. Me myself am not worried. I have nothing to hide and the U.S. Government needs to stay out of other countries business and take care of home period. McCain had no business going to Syria, He is not president, just a war mongerer like the rest of his party.It is a shame when you have people in your own country acting like stool pigeons.

    June 10, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Data Driven

    Well, King would know about subversive activity, given all his support for the terrorist Irish Republican Army.

    And feel free to eschew "moderating" my comment, Ticker. King's activities are a matter of public record. His presence in the United States Congress is a disgrace.

    June 10, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Davis

    Obviously, anyone that thinks this guy is a menace/traitor must be in favor of these illegal activities. Oh, and must not love their Constitutional rights.

    June 10, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Repealing the Patriot Act would go a long way in restoring citizen trust in the governement.
    -------------
    Maybe, maybe not.

    The Civil Rights Act was passed not too long after the Bay of Pigs, U2 spy plane being shot down, and a few other incidents with the Soviets. The CRA of 1964 contains some language that basically gives the POTUS a blank check to issue executive orders to do anything he wants in the interests of national security. I guess the intent was to give the POTUS the ability to take quick decisive action during a quickly shifting national emergency.

    Those powers were one reason legislation was passed a several years later requiring Congressional approval before starting wars, and putting a time frame the Commander-In-Chiefs power to deploy troops abroad. Some of the Patriot Act.actually continues to define and restrict the blank check that was granted under the CRA of 1964.

    June 10, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Tom

    @Sniffit,
    I finally figured it out. You constantly confuse the TEA Party with neocons. You do realize there is a difference, right?

    You do realize when you said (on several occasions) that the TEA Party said nothing when the Patriot Act was passed and now have zero credibility because they are complaining about the violation of our privacy now is just a completely inane statement? You said it several times. They didn't exist back then so your statement is just plain wrong.

    Stop confusing the TEA Party with neocons, you do it all the time. They have very different agendas and although some of their issues overlap, they are totally different.

    Please be honest with your comments rather than being intellectually dishonest, as you tend to be.

    And I find it funny that you rail against republicans for being inconsistent with the wire tapping when that just isn't the case. You have Karl Rove, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and many, many other republicans who support Obama on this issue.

    The main person who is being inconsistent is the President himself, who was against wire tapping before he was for it. He is the one who has completely changed yet you seem eerily silent about him while continuing to put out false comments about repubs being inconsistent.

    June 10, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Tom wrote:

    ... ... ... The main person who is being inconsistent is the President himself, who was against wire tapping before he was for it. He is the one who has completely changed yet you seem eerily silent about him while continuing to put out false comments about repubs being inconsistent.
    -------------------------
    Well, Sen. Obama ran on "change", didn't he? Another campaign promise kept. Mission accomplished.

    June 10, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. ca

    This guy is a HERO for exposing the government lies and spying on us. We need to screen immigrants and kick out anyone here illegally and boot out citizens that their government is not on good terms with us. by removing people from countries that hate us we would we have no need to spy on our own citizens

    June 10, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Snowden needs to be removed. The Chinese officials may have him and demand more information about American security secrets. Snowden is a DEFECTOR, is extremely dangerous and danger to national security he need's to found remove before he can talk to China .

    June 10, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Data Driven

    @Tom,

    The "tea party" is simply another name for the Republican Base. They are conservatives. And they were silent about the Patriot Act before their re-branding in 2009. The Base was also silent about the neoconservatives' little police actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Conservatives just don't have a lot of credibility on these issues.

    June 10, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Steveo

    @Ca
    This guy is no hero. I think we all knew in some way, we were being spied on. That is is the nature of the Patriot Act! Sorry but "HEROS" don't tell us we are being spied on and then go run and hide in a nation THAT SPYS ON US!

    June 10, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. George Wenger

    Snowden is a true American Hero and Patriot. Apparently, King is unfamiliar with Benjamin Franklin's famous quote about those who would sacrifice rights to get security getting and deserving neither. Shame on the political hacks who voted away our rights as Americans in favor of a Big Brother State!!!

    June 10, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Wake up People!

    @ca.
    You might want to google Tim McVeigh......

    June 10, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Homer

    The real danger to this country comes from politicians like Peter King, not from brave a citizen like Snowden. King wants to control us, Snowdon wants to empower us

    June 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. The REAL Truth...

    I'm inclined to believe Rep. Peter King is more of a danger to National Security than Snowden. After all, he DID re-authorize the Patriot and NDAA acts by voting FOR them. Oh, but he's Republican. Remember.

    June 10, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Steveo

    @Rudy NYC

    Well, Sen. Obama ran on "change", didn't he? Another campaign promise kept. Mission accomplished.
    ------------
    Hey Rudy. Hope you had a great weekend. I have to disagree with your "change" statement. This is not change but a continuation of a policy started under Bush tha was signed off by Congress (by folks on both sides of the aisle).

    June 10, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. don in albuquerque

    @c--Lets see this guy spills the beans for every nation in the world to read (means probably paid), hides out in a communist country (absolutely paid), Hero? Hardly. Well paid by somebody, now we just need to find out who and let them share the same gallows.

    June 10, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Steveo

    @The REAL Truth...

    I'm inclined to believe Rep. Peter King is more of a danger to National Security than Snowden. After all, he DID re-authorize the Patriot and NDAA acts by voting FOR them. Oh, but he's Republican. Remember.
    --------------
    So are you saying NO Dem voted to reauthorize the Patriot and NDAA Acts??

    June 10, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "I finally figured it out. You constantly confuse the TEA Party with neocons. You do realize there is a difference, right?"

    ===

    Yes, "neocon" is generally used to refer to a foreign policy ideology for the most part...one that believes in aggressively promoting democracy around the world, focusing especially on the Middle East, viewing the use of military strength as the first option, not the last, and quite vehemently hating world diplomatic organizations like the UN. Quite honestly, I'm thoroughly convinced you don't know what you're talking about and just flailing at me because you've got a little bit of an obsession with trying to test your mettle against me.

    June 10, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. 1984

    I think some of our politicians can be labeled dangerous to this Country for what they are doing to us all for their greedy wealthy buddies and allow our Children and Grandchildren too inherit the mess. Mr. King whether you know it or not China has been hacking into our stuff long before this guy blew the whistle and you did nothing to stop it. You allow American corporations to do business in countries we know violate human rights.

    June 10, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "You do realize when you said (on several occasions) that the TEA Party said nothing when the Patriot Act was passed and now have zero credibility because they are complaining about the violation of our privacy now is just a completely inane statement? You said it several times. They didn't exist back then so your statement is just plain wrong."
    ====
    You tried this semantic game nonsense last week. The SAME PEOPLE who are now Teatrolls never complained back then. You gonna tell me that those same people "didn't exist back then?" Saying that people who became Teatrolls never complained about it previously is not the same thing as somehow claiming that the Tea Party existed back then...and I've never said anything of the sort. You're deliberately mischaracterizing and misinterpreting what I say to give yourself straw men to knock down. Grow up.

    June 10, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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