June 10th, 2013
08:06 AM ET
9 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. Scott

    Peter King, Drone.

    June 10, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Chris

    Last I checked China isn't our enemy, they're our manufacturing plant. And last I checked spying on Americans is in no way constitutional. Someone should be going to jail for giving this program an appearance of being legal, which it obviously is not.

    June 10, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Jay

    Hey Mr. King, may be you should look into the mirror to find a real traitor.

    June 10, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Shuffler

    The congress and senate are the enemies of the American people. They do not abide by the laws of our country.

    June 10, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. TheDecline

    True hero. I stand beside him. Ready to fight and die to rid this country of tyrants.

    June 10, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Ann Terhune

    I am a hard core lefty and ACLU member but still consider Snowden a coward and his behavior treasonous. If everyone who is supposed to keep government secrets reveals them and then is treated like a hero, then we are all doomed. Revealing details of a legal operation approved by congress does not make one a hero. This is comparable to telling Bin Laden the seals are on their way. It can be legal but leaking the details can still be damaging of it causes terrorists to change their tactics.

    June 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    I wasn't OK with the Patriot act from day one and most certainly am not OK with it now, even less so.

    June 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    True hero. I stand beside him. Ready to fight and die to rid this country of tyrants.
    -------------------------------------------------Your "hero" has left the country.
    You'd have to find him first, then tie him down because he is not standing, fighting, and much less dying for anybody.

    June 10, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    He saw.
    He blabbed.
    He left.

    June 10, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Joe

    This country is in a lot of trouble. Someone exposes a completely illegal spying program straight out of 1984 and East Germany and people want the person that showed the criminality thrown in the jail, and not the actual traitors to our Constitution. Times are crazy right now...

    June 10, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And this is what some folks are trying to pass off as an American hero.
    It's no wonder people around the world laugh at Americans.

    June 10, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Colorado

    How are all you Bush era republicans liking your patriot act now? Good when Pres. Bush does it, bad when Pres Obama does it? It was bad then, it's bad now. And NO, this guy doesn't get to hide out with the Chinese and have nothing happen to him.

    June 10, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. neken7

    This is the exact kind of thing the Republican party should be stepping up for. They go on and on about how Democrats are trying to erode our rights and take away our freedoms and expand Government beyond the point of control. So what happens when someone leaks information about the way our Government spies on us? They call him a traitor. I don't think it's possible for them to become any more of a hypocritical mouthpiece.

    The problem I have with this is the Government claims it's not that bad, that they're only checking who called who, not what was said, and other spying is of non-US citizens. But where does it end? Decades ago this would have been considered unthinkable, now they consider it acceptable... to protect our Freedom. We're only a couple of attacks away from them arguing that they need start listening in on calls. Obama said it himself after the Boston Bombing, you can't stop every attack, we'll always be in danger. So at what point do we draw the line between giving up privacy for freedom?

    June 10, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. are122

    Trial would be interesting. I would like to know why the government feels it needs to collect data on millions of Americans rather than only suspicious activity (like phone calls to Yemen or Pakistan)... unless of course the government has become so paranoid they think like Stalin that everyone is out to get them.

    June 10, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Jules

    Absolutely agree with Peter King – never thought I'd see the day.

    June 10, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. BC

    Wow big surprise that King is trying to discredit Snowden, and defending the program as doing good. Sure get the opinion of the guy who probably helped authorized this stuff to begin with. Well, gee, if it does good why does it matter if we spy on Americans and stomp on the Constitution. Means justify the ends? Not in a free society – but that does not really existing anymore.

    June 10, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I agree with Peter King....I smell a Rat.

    June 10, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. johnboy

    I voted for Obama....but I totally agree with GOP King on this issue! all patriots agree on this one!

    June 10, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. SuperD

    Please do not call this guy a Hero. I can't stomach that.

    It is a bit of a double edged sword. At the time I want them looking after the bad guys and at the same time wanting my privacy. You would think they can monitor the bad guys without confiscating records of average citizens. There's some overreach here by somebody. I don't think the problem is the Patriot Act.

    June 10, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. TiredOfPaying

    He should be tried as a Traitor and publically hanged. Then we should repeal the NDA, abolish Homeland Security and take a very long step back towards respecting Privacy. The laws enacted post-9/11 ALL need to be repealed; leaving them in place will mean that our children will read Orwell's '1984' and wish they had it so good.

    Ok, you got me – I fully know that children will never 'read' ANYTHING.

    June 10, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. John Deatherage

    Repeal Patriot Act. Impeach King. Dismantle Prism. Give Medal of Freedom to Edward Snowden.

    June 10, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Mike

    I listened to his entire interview. And many things he said were entirely wrong. He is obviously naïve. There is also a gross misunderstanding of what the government says its actually doing And that is the medias fault for not explaining.. The Prism System does collect ALL internet data. into a big data base. But it is not looked at unless there is a trigger. that is someone in an email mentions certain keywords or combinations of keywords that the NSA computers are setup to look for. At that point they have to go before a special court (FISA) for an analyst to examine the email or communication. Secondly this is not a program that is without supervision the congressional intelligence committees are well aware of it and are supposed to supervise it. So he is wrong in that his claim of government acting above the will of the people. If the policy is wrong then change your elected representative. The NSA feels that they need this historical data to backtrack into an individuals ties when they have s suspect. they can quickly identify any co-conspirators. The database is so large that no human being is going to get much meaningful information.

    June 10, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. plain&simple

    The Government is accessing thi information through who? Corprations who track it!!! Do you think it's really private??? It's the age we live in,it's how the corporate jungle wants it.Everyt and everyone's information one click away. Seems to me we need trustworthy elected officials. Leaks have a way of keeping things in check....free press is the defender of our liberty.

    June 10, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. MoveForward

    King is dead wrong. What Snowden did was a great blow for democracy. The Patriot Act needs to be repealed NOW!

    June 10, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. XXXX

    I can't imagine how stupid people can still be. Those who are praising Snowden and making him a hero, you are still be monitored. The programme hasn't ended. You are making the same mistake this young lad did.

    June 10, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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