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. Steveo

    @Homer,
    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
    ----------------–
    Exactly how can Snowden empower anyone when he is hiding out in China?

    June 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Winning

    Sniffit and Rudy. I am surprised you guys can defend the administration on this one. It was bad when Bush did it, it's bad when Obama does it. Yes, I'm aware of the difference between the two programs, but it's garbage that the administration is doing this.

    June 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Larry L

    If some person was trusted with the location and targeting plans for our nuclear submabine fleet but personally doesn't feel America has a "right" to keep that information secret from our people, should we forgive the person when he leaks that data? We are at war now. If Congress knew the surveillance programs were lawful, isn't this traitor subject to the death penalty for treason during times of war? Are we now going to reward traitors who willfully release top-secret information – something they were sworn to never divulge?

    June 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "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."
    ===

    I don't find him using it to be hypocritical at all. The programs and powers exist. As I've explained before, when they exist, they come with a duty to use them lest he be accused of failing to protect our interests, failing to do everything he can and use everything at his disposal to make us safe, dereliction of duty, negligence, etc. It's one thing to be non-POTUS and believe that we should get rid of the programs/powers and quite another to find yourself as POTUS and having to use them in order to fulfill the obligations concomitant with the existence of those powers.

    June 10, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm in agreement with KIng also Lynda.
    Here's the thing: Why did he "defect" to China?
    We've got "these people" making a huge hoopla about the whole freedom of the press thingy, trying, in my opinion to defend the indefensible, and Skippy skips to China. Guilty much?
    Here's the other thing: He could've skipped to Timbuktu he would still be skipping with information that our enemies would pay to obtain, not just the Chinese but anybody out there looking to do our country harm.
    Why is nobody talking about this? They'd rather focus their daitribe on "this administration is violating our freedoms blah, blah, yada yada".
    Really America?

    June 10, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. John from CA

    Time to repeal this portion of the Patriot Act. It violates every citizen's constitutional right to privacy and protections from unreasonable searches.

    June 10, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Winning

    Nice argument Sniffit. "It's bad unless it's my turn to use it." Really? I've seen you post some great stuff and read these blogs to see what your take on things is. That said, your arguments on this one are really bad.

    June 10, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. My86gw

    I think Rep. King and rest of DC are the danger to people of US. Lets prosecute them.

    June 10, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Skippy" Snowden needs to be brought back home.
    Tout suite.
    Immediately if not sooner, before somebody decides to pay him to further flap his lips.

    June 10, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "Sniffit and Rudy. I am surprised you guys can defend the administration on this one. It was bad when Bush did it, it's bad when Obama does it. "

    Make no mistake that I want the Patriot Act repealed and consider these things to be abhorrent. Pointing out the hypocrisy of the people who never complained before OR, even worse, were the same people who pushed for, authored and demanded passage of the Patriot Act and who then defended the Bush administration when we all cried foul at his massive "wiretapping" programs...that's not defending the programs themselves. It's simply defending Obama from the people who are trying to use this as a political football. They all want to try to pin this on Obama as if it's not old news, as if it's all his fault, as if what Bush did was ok and it's suddenly not when Obama is doing it...or engage in crazy rationalizations as to how and why what Obama has done is worse...all in the name of trying to hang another "scandal" on Obama. Bush did it because he wanted it and the idiot Congress passed it. Obama is doing it because he's stuck with it. The issue is not "OMG Obama is horrible and this is all off the rails." The issue is that the POTUS/executive branch are going to use these powers until taken away...and we should be focused on convincing Congress to do so, not bogged down in political gamesmanship that tries to make this all about trying to pin another "scandal" on him.

    June 10, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Winning

    Sniffit, that I agree with, although Obama signed the reauthorization into law, which was a cowardly move IMO. If he had any principles, he wouldn't exercise a power that is wrong, regardless of whether he has the technical authority to do so.

    June 10, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Ever think one way about something, then you're given MOUNTAINS of information on it that you were NOT privy to before and you decide to LAWFULLY continue with that something that you were initially against?
    Do you think that the white hairs on our President's head are there for decoration?
    I respect and support a President who will judiciously and LAWFULLY stasnd by something that he was previously against based on having access to further information.
    And before you ask, would I trust Crawford's Village idiot in the same manner? That would be a big hell to the no.

    June 10, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Pablo

    King says he's a defector and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law? KING should be prosecuted! Just because this kid revealed information about what the government is doing behind our backs, doesn't mean he's a traitor...on the contrary HE IS A PATRIOT....willing to DIE for his country. In my opinion, he is a SOLDIER.

    June 10, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Thomas

    Edward Snowden will be home soon , enjoying his new life behind bars .

    June 10, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "Sniffit, that I agree with, although Obama signed the reauthorization into law, which was a cowardly move IMO. If he had any principles, he wouldn't exercise a power that is wrong, regardless of whether he has the technical authority to do so."

    Certainly would've been nice to see him veto it, but that's not the offense that the GOP/Teatrolls and MSM are desperately trying to charge him with here....one for political advantage and the other for the ad revenue that "another scandal" would help them generate.

    June 10, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Tom

    @Sniffit,
    "Indeed. And then there's a whole bunch of GOPers/Teatrolls trying to pretend that never happened or that this is different and that NOW is suddenly the time to be concerned about it and throw a massive hissy fit and scream "unconstitooshinamal!!!!!"...."

    You just did it right there.

    You are correct, the neocons are all about spreading democracy throughout the world. However, the TEA Party did NOT exist when the Patriot Act passed. In fact, they didn't come around until the end of Bush's administration and are all about taxes and personal liberties which are being taken away by the government.

    Your comment is intellectually dishonest...again. How can you not admit that the TEA Party had zero to do with the Patriot Act?

    June 10, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Larry L

    Did Snowden ever voice his objection to the program through official channels? Is everybody with a TS-SCI clearance going to be given the option to obey their oath or just decide "they don't approve" (of a legal program) and release information to our enemies? See any problems with running our military with that system?

    June 10, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Steveo

    @Pablo,

    Nowhere and at no time did Snowden say he was willing to die! Based upon his current location, I think he is not even willing to go to a US prison!

    June 10, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Larry L

    @Pablo

    "Just because this kid revealed information about what the government is doing behind our backs, doesn't mean he's a traitor."
    =============================
    This "kid" had a TS-SCI security clearance! Releasing top secret information is treason! He is a perfect example of a traitor and during a war – subject to the death penalty. We can't run a government without classified information AND people who honor their oath to protect that information. Does the next traitor get a free pass?

    June 10, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Ann Terhune

    Snowden is a coward looking for publicity. How can he be a whistle-blower if the program is legal? It has been authorized by congress, they voted on it, and have been briefed on it. This country has gone through these cycles many times. After Vietnam the Church committee stripped the CIA of many of its powers. During the Clinton administration there was also a big furor over privacy and then we had the 9/11 incident and all that goes out the window. I agree that the country needs to have these privacy discussions but there will always be trade-offs between privacy and security

    June 10, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "Sniffit and Rudy. I am surprised you guys can defend the administration on this one. It was bad when Bush did it, it's bad when Obama does it. "

    Make no mistake that I want the Patriot Act repealed and consider these things to be abhorrent. Pointing out the hypocrisy of the people who never complained before OR, even worse, were the same people who pushed for, authored and demanded passage of the Patriot Act and who then defended the Bush administration when we all cried foul at his massive "wiretapping" programs...that's not defending the programs themselves. It's simply defending Obama from the people who are trying to use this as a political football.
    -------------–
    Yeah. What Sinffit said.

    Bush was actually wiretapping without warrants or court authorizations. The other scandals with the AP and Fox demonstrate that the Obama administration will at least conform to the letter of the law, even if one doesn't like the law.

    June 10, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. just sayin

    funny how these people that reveal all our secrets are heroes to the left when they do it while a republican is in the whitehouse and then are traitors to the left when they do it when there is a democrat in the whitehouse. yeah, all very politically convenient isn't it?

    June 10, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Ward Kinney

    I am a veteran who believes that anyone who is granted a top secret clearance and has access to this kind of sensitive information is a traitor when he release any such information to the public. It is not a matter of if the program is miss guided, it is a matter of honoring a commitment to the country you serve. It is as simple as that.

    June 10, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Tom

    @Sniffit,
    "Obama is doing it because he's stuck with it."

    So basically, no principles. Just another politician.

    I am actually bummed out with you. If you can't call out Obama on the wire tapping and rationalize it away, I just don't know what to say. It just demonstrates how you have little intellectual honesty and just back Obama no matter what. And, here, you had a chance to prove me wrong but all you did was prove me right.

    June 10, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @Tom
    "The TEA Party did NOT exist when the Patriot Act passed."
    ====================================
    Don't play word games. The Tea Party is a group of fearful, bigoted, white, conservative Republicans created from the deep pockets of the Koch Brothers et. al. to appear as a grass roots movement. The same bunch of people were around when the Patriot Act was used and abused by "W". How many of those folks voted for him the second time?

    June 10, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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