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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Kid? Now he's a kid. Trying to garnish sympathy for this MAN by calling him a kid.
    Well the " kid" knew the jig was up when he LEFT THE COUNTRY. If he were a patriot he would've defended his stance. If he were a soldier he would be shot for treason and for abandoning his post and leaving his comrades to fend for themselves.
    Why would your "kid" defect to China? According to some of you he did nothing wrong. Who's funding his defection?
    Kid indeed....

    June 10, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    I am not into twitter or Facebook but I would like to know how many of those who are calling out the Obama administration, for something started by the war criminal #43 or our government in general, are part of the least private and most invasive bs going around today.
    People are on Facebook and twiter constantly sending pictures of themselves, their kids, what they bought, where they are going to or coming from, where they live or work, what they had to eat today, yesterday and it's all about letting EVERYONE know about your lives. The government is trying to prevent another 9/11 and everyone is witching and complaining about it.
    This Snowden needs to be sent back to the US and we need to deal with him like we used to before which was death, but now will probably be life in prison.
    Anyone wonder why he picked China of all countries to seek asylum? It's obvious if you lists to him that he planned this to get to where he is today.

    June 10, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The guy is a hero, for exposing this extreme overreach, in a government that seeks to seize control of America, as a totalitarian state.

    This country is in great danger, from within, and people need to recognize the truth.

    June 10, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Steveo

    @Marie MD,

    If Bush is a war criminal, so is everyone who voted for war an dto fund it. To include such Dems as Pelosi, Clinton and Kerry to name a few! I imagine you have deep concerns about Obama's use of drones too, right?

    June 10, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Marie MD
    The government is trying to prevent another 9/11 and everyone is witching and complaining about it.
    This Snowden needs to be sent back to the US and we need to deal with him like we used to before which was death, but now will probably be life in prison.
    Anyone wonder why he picked China of all countries to seek asylum? It's obvious if you lists to him that he planned this to get to where he is today.
    -------------------------------------------------
    My sentiments exactly Marie.
    Im not an advocate of the death penalty howeever, but I do believe "Skippy" needs to be brought back home as he has quite a bit of explaining to do not the least of which would be who put you up to this.

    June 10, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    "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?"

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    " The guy is a hero, for exposing this extreme overreach, in a government that seeks to seize control of America, as a totalitarian state. This country is in great danger, from within, and people need to recognize the truth."
    ------------------–
    At least we know almost for sure that these are two separate people.

    June 10, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Name Uche Agonsi

    Everything is wrong with the Snowden issue. He did it for money & now moved to Hongkong. A low-level technical worker's idea countering the considerations behind decision of top class professionals & bereaucrats. He only worked for three months to be qualified for highly sensitive security duties. What was everyone thinking. Is no case of how rational is his idea but the extent of negligence in the affair. The only way out is to assume is a world of daily lesson.

    June 10, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Flagship, NC

    He had a high level of security clearance. He signed a contract to be in that position. He could have resigned if he felt that this was wrong. But he didn't. I was in the military and also had security clearance. What he did was done in the wrong way. He needs to be punished in the most serious way. He needs to be an example of what not to do if any one else is thinking of doing the same. He should get life with no posibility of parol.

    June 10, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    Good one Rudy. But you can tell they are separate people.....

    While Rick may be a RWNJ, at least he knows proper grammar. He knows that each and every sentence should start with a capital letter. Just, not so much.

    June 10, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Dr Steven F Dobrowolski

    This gentleman represents the closest thing to a modern hero that exists in the world today. A hardy congratulations for doing the right thing in pointing out government's abuse of power and insidious destruction of personal privacy. Along with Julain Assange and Private Manning these are noble persons who deserve respect.

    June 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Tom

    @Domincan,
    So you're ok with your guy but not someone who is not your guy. Yep, that makes sense.
    Based on your intrepid insight, you have demonstrated the problem with the Patriot Act. Why do you trust President Obama so much? What has he done to gain your trust? You can see he has been very inconsistent and if some of the charges that are being levied against him were levied against Bush you would say something different.
    You should be a little bit more consistent about your thoughts rather than just backing your guy.
    Oh, and Bush got a lot more gray hair, too, during he presidency.

    June 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. truth hurts but reality bites

    While I don't like every Tom, Dick & Harry that has access to our nation's top secrets to be able to simply decide for themselves what should be revealed to the world, there needs to be room for disclosure of such blatant abuse of the laws. This case is a tough call in my book. I think he has revealed what many Americans already suspected of their government but had no proof of.

    I think what the Obama administration has done in terms of collecting information on every US citizen, whether involved in wrong doing or not, is a violation of the letter and intent of the Patriot Act. The fact that these companies would be funneling all of this information directly to the government, without notifying their customers, is very troubling.

    We are now seeing the real beginning of a massive and pervasive surveillance state under the guise of "protecting us". There is a point at which the threat from the surveillance to my personal freedom and privacy over takes the threat from the terrorists to my safety. The odds of getting attacked by terrorists is small. The odds of being targetted by a government that cannot be trusted is far greater.

    June 10, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Bill

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Benjamin Franklin

    June 10, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. sasss31

    Nothing happened was unconstitutional with the government metadata information programs (phone calls, internet). All three branches of the government were involved and it was part of the Patriot Act which the Supreme Court has not ruled unconstitutional. I will say that the Founding Fathers did not have the type of global terrorism that we have to deal with today. The U.S. constitution is a living and breathing document that changes with the times. We have to take the necessary actions to keep the homeland safe. And this only dealt with metadata information and prevented multiple terrorist attacks. If we don't do anything and another major terrorist attack happens, people will blame the government for not doing enough. Both Republicans and Democrats understand this and out of all the gridlock in Washington, this had bipartisan consensus due to protecting the security of our nation. But regardless if you agree with what the government is doing or not, the fact that this guy leaked classified information that he was sworn to protect makes him a traitor and guilty of high crimes against the United States. And what he has done is jeopardized national security. He needs to be extradited and brought to trial for his crimes against the United States. If you don't like the Patriot Act, challenge the constitutionality. In the mean time, this traitor needs to be brought to justice for his crimes against the United States. He deserves the same type of treatment as Bradley Manning. EXTRADITE, PROSECUTE. Enough said.

    June 10, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. deebo

    Sounds like the movie, "enemy of the state", the character gene hackman played.

    June 10, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. wizzard

    It will be interesting to see how the story develops against Mr Snowden. I suspect there will be a sense of irony as he is portrayed as a disgruntled security employee who conversed in calls and email with some sort of foreign elements to disclose national secrets for some benefit (ignoring that he had a nice life in Hawaii with a $200K salary). Will it be lost that the same records being gathered will be used to show hes a traitor?

    I find it ironic that I am more fearful of the efforts to which our government will use to protect me than the "terrorist" elements from which I'm being protected.

    June 10, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. rick7809

    @Tom
    "The TEA Party did NOT exist when the Patriot Act passed."
    I am confused, I thought the Tea Party was a social welfare organization that had nothing to do with politics. Look folks, anyone who uses any electronic form of communication, including your cordless phone at home, should not be surprised that someone else has the ability to intercept the it and use information.

    June 10, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Snowden has two fundamental problems with his approach. First, he did not expose illegal activity. He exposed activity with which he disagrees on a policy basis. To declare something illegal simply because one has philosophical disagreements with it is to misunderstand completely our form of government.

    Second, he is grossly exaggerating many aspects of the program to justify his actions and garner sympathy. Aside from hurting his credibility generally, such grandstanding blurs the honest debate on this issue he claims to want.

    June 10, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    The government will pain him as whatever benefits them (terroist, enemy of the state ect...) and in fact for releasing infomation like this he is BUT on the other side the federal government has shreded the 4th amendment. 1st, 2nd and 4th now clearly threatened by not only this aministration but previous and no doubt future ones also.

    June 10, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. just askin

    so the government and obama absolutely denies that they are gathering, storing and analyzing actual phone calls of american citizens with the usa.

    my question to everybody is, do you believe them?

    June 10, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    @steveo, it doesn't matter who voted for what in congress. The sheub's administration went to war knowing full well that there were NO WMDs in Iraq thus opening the pandora's box the did and all the chaos in the Middle East since them.
    Never mind the thousands of Americans and others who died and are stil dying for nothing because guess who is coming out on top and buying most of the oil from Iraq? Yes, ladies and gentlemen. China! Not even the US.
    The Chinese (hackers that they are) are on the outside looking in buying our country little by little while we fight amongst ourselves about the security of our country and giving asylum to a traitor!

    June 10, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Wake up People!

    Once again I agree with Marie MD. I loathe FB and twitter. I just can't understand how anyone thinks it's ok to share every aspect of your life. I do have a FB account, but only because my daughter told me to get one when all of my old friends started coming to her page looking for me. I do go there on my birthday to thank everyone for the happy birthday wishes though.

    With all of this social media madness, anyone that thinks they have privacy is mad. And of course I'm always here.......

    June 10, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. chill

    Not often I agree with Peter King. But I say string him up.

    June 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Bill

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Benjamin Franklin
    ---------------
    Yeah, but. Wasn't it all good with the right wing, libertarians included, when "Bush kept us safe"?

    June 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tom

    @Domincan,
    So you're ok with your guy but not someone who is not your guy. Yep, that makes sense.
    Based on your intrepid insight, you have demonstrated the problem with the Patriot Act. Why do you trust President Obama so much? What has he done to gain your trust?
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm okay with someone I TRUST lawfully applying the Patriot Act to keep us safe.
    I stopped trusting Bush long before his second term. Iraq had a lot to do with that.
    Why do I trust President Obama? Many reasons not the least of them being the non-stop witch-hunt that the GOPeeing Teatards have subjected him through since day one. They have dug, and dug, and concocted, and dug some more in an all out effort to discredit THIS President and they've come up empty.
    So I have people like you to thank Tom for a lot of the trust that I place on THIS President.
    The white hairs on the Crawford's village idiot's head? Well Iet's just say that the unnecessary death of innocent Iraqui civilians, soldiers, and American soldiers and personnel comes with a price.

    June 10, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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