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. Jean2

    Do you think that people that would harm the USA would come out and expose their intentions? Do we wait like sitting DUCKS?? Do we wait for the next boomer??

    All of the concern about "our need to know" sounds good and politically correct. but the the government MUST PROTECT IT"S CITIZENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 10, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    "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"?

    bush administration proved they could be trusted. obama administration has proven the irs is bein gused to go after their political enemies. when you have dishonest scumbags, you get dishonest government you can't trust.

    June 10, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Jessie in MA

    Rudy NYC
    As someone who has come to lose all respect for the Republican Party, I'm hoping for another black guy, like Gov. Duval Patrick, which would only serve as additional catalyst for the right wing's self implosion..

    Is this what the Democrat Party has degenated to? Replacing one incompetent black man with another incompetent black man so you can hide abject failure behind screams of racisim?? This is the way your think our country should be lead? With race baiting tactics? Pretty sad.

    June 10, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Peter King crying? Then Snowden MUST have done the right thing. That psychopathic, xenophobic yankeebilly turns my stomach every time he opens his fat, stupid mouth.

    June 10, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. ProudLiberal

    After 9/11 we asked: "Why didn't the government know?" After the Boston Marathon bombing we asked: "Why didn't the government know?" Now we say: "Why is the government trying to find out what might happen?" Hmmmm...

    If, God forbid, another 9/11 happens then the same people who now condemn the government for collecting data will scream again: "Why didn't the government know?"

    Can't have it both way, folks.

    June 10, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Steveo

    @Marie MD

    steveo, it doesn't matter who voted for what in congress......
    No where close to the truth Marie I am sure you know how government works! No vote in Congress, no war! No vote to fund, no war! That is how it works. Some in BOTH parties voted to fight AND fund the war! Some in BOTh parties voted against it! I fully understand people have political favorites but that does not make the truth any less than the truth!

    June 10, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Time to stir the pot. Hee, hee.

    They do a lot worse than that folks. Ever use an ATM? Guess what? They take a picture of your face, associate the image with the name used on the bank card, and use that to create a database. That database is then in turn combined with facial recognition software and cameras located in public places like tool booths, street corners, airports, train stations, the mall, and bus terminals to keep a near real time record of all of your movements.

    June 10, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Rose Tyner

    He is a patriot, King is unpatriotic and a follower of BIG Government who will do this on their own without accountability if not stopped.

    June 10, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. CAW

    I truly hope those who are in Rep King district show him who is the real traitor in this. The government is trampling over our 4th amendment rights. This IS unreasonable search and seizure. The government can NOT investigate a citizen without a reason.

    For those of you who say the government is just using corporations who track it so what's the big deal, I ask...WHO is supposed to control those corporations? Who can the average citizen go to to prevent such corporate abuse?

    I have served both in the Military and as a Government employee and I no can say that with pride.

    June 10, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. KBNJ

    Watched Ed Snowden's interview with Wa Post. King needs to be voted out, along with all those who agree with him of either party. Snowden should be granted full immunity and testify publicly in front of Congress on everything he knows. Patriot Act repealed or gutted. Google, Verizon, etc. should be subjected to class-action lawsuits by their customers that make sure NO corporation will ever violate it's privacy policy again nor lie about who they're giving our information to.

    June 10, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Joan

    I bet there's a lot more to this guy and how and why he leaked this information. He obviously does not understand the trust and confidence that was put in him by his employers and he ignored his pledge to maintain that confidence. If he had concerns, there were lawful methods he could have taken to try and illuminate the various security committees before making such a bold move. Did he want some kind of misguided attention? What is his ideology?. If he voted for a third party in 2008 as one source reported does that mean he is Libertarian? He kind of sounds like it. He also has a bloated sense of his importance and scope at the agency. There is absolutely no way he could do all the things he is boasting about. Anyone who is on Facebook is an open book. You are followed on the internet by retailers which is why you get personalized ads corresponding to your searches on you home page. Sometimes I get coupons from my grocer tied exactly to what I have bought recently so they must track my purchases. Hidden cameras in stores and elevators, cameras at intersections and closed circuit TV's at large sports gatherings all infringe on your privacy. Some people have their underwear in a knot trying to tie this to President Obama but the truth is that is misdirected. This was started by Bush, passed by Congress and OK'd by judges. Check it out. One journalist made a comment that all of Issa's witch hunts and now this are throwing off the President's agenda for this term. Nice try. Pres. Obama can walk and chew gum at the same time. Tomorrow the immigration bill is voted on. Gun control is far from over. It looks like the prison in Cuba is going to be on the chopping block. All these distractions are doing is spotlighting how desperate many of his opponents are.

    June 10, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney

    Rep Peter King will soon face Criminal Prosecution

    September 2001 . 'Osama Kill' . Newtown . Boston

    June 10, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. saywhat

    "Trustworthy elected officials" are a commodity we have lost. The past 11 yrs are witness to that.
    It is reported that Rand Paul is planning to initiate a class action suit against this encroachment on civil liberties. In all probability Rep.Peter King( a known sponsor of and active supporter of terrorism – IRA) would declare Rand Paul an enemy of state.

    June 10, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Anthony in California

    You people are claiming Snowden is a hero because he wants to jeopordize national security and allow something like another 9-11 to happen by exposing sensitive information?

    And when that 9-11 happens, you same people will bash the President for allowing it to happen?

    And you'll turn around and ask why wasn't enough done to keep us safe?

    Then you claim your privacy is being threatened, all the while updating your every move online via Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare...


    June 10, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Drewsifer

    Joan – You clearly have no understanding of the engineering.

    June 10, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. ja

    american honor has declined a lot of gutless people are hired in jobs over their heads, and they become judge and jury, from recent navy seals, manning, the senator that rated out valarie palme, gthis is endless

    June 10, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. JR

    Ah yes, the smear campaign begins. REP. King is very obviously engaged in an orchestrated attempt to discredit Mr. Snowden. A defector? The cold war ended like 25 years ago Rep. King– get with the program.

    Ask yourself this question– would you buy a used car from Rep. King? Neither would I.

    June 10, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    "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"?

    bush administration proved they could be trusted. obama administration has proven the irs is bein gused to go after their political enemies. when you have dishonest scumbags, you get dishonest government you can't trust.
    Bush did use the IRS to go after the NAACP, he awarded no-bid contracts to political friends. Quit trying to whitewash the Bush adminstration as Simon-pure while denouncing as treason and corruption everything Obama does.

    June 10, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. chaukeram

    Goodbye privacy, goodbye rights... in the name of 'security' they're taking it away (a little more each year...each decade) and 'they' think we don't notice...

    June 10, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Isn't Democrats and this administration all about "TRANSPARENCY"?

    June 10, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Dan

    Glad most Republicans in Congress agree that the man is clearly a traitor and fled to Communist China to prove he is a traitor. The man claims to have done it for freedom, but goes to a country who imprisoned more than a million citizens and block millions of web pages.
    China supports the axis of evil countries North Korea and Iran.

    If you support him, then go to Communist China with him and you will quickly learn what freedom is all about.

    June 10, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. it must be said

    Obama has abused the Patriot Act beyond belief. It was never intended or written in a way to allow the massive collection of all USA communications from all people going back years. They have established a huge historiical database of all our communications so when they do snag somebody they can look back and see who used that number and who they called.

    Obama has perverted the law and now his low IQ minions want to use that to get rid of it.

    June 10, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "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."

    Oh yeah? Setting aside that you've just mischaracterized what I argued....why don't you explain to everyone how Obama would get away with not continuing these programs? Hmmm? What would happen if he shut them all down and/or even destroyed all the data? How does he get away with it? How does it not become a huge distraction in Congress and then, after something like the Boston Marathon bombing occurs, not lead to the GOP/Teatroll trying to impeach him, screaming negligence and dereliction of duty and riling all their idiot Teatroll basers who think he is a "secret muslim" who is trying to bring Sharia Law to 'Murika? Hmmm? You got a brilliantly devised way out of that catch-22 for this POTUS and future POTUSes that you'd like to share with everyone, so all the finest political and legal minds in the country can nod sagely and say "by gosh golly...he's got it!" There's one way and one way only: repeal it. Period. Unless and until that happens, POTUS is stuck using it.

    June 10, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    It's amazing how most people are for or against this based on ther political affiliation. Sorry people but it's not a party line issue and you're not for or against depending on which party is runnign the show.

    I was against it when Bush was in and I'm still against it. NO PATRIOT ACT!!!!

    June 10, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Alan

    Mr. King – this fine mess was started by former President Bush and supported by yourself. Not a peep was heard out of you during the 8 horrible years of Bush's term and now you naturally come out of your closet when a democrat is in the White House. If this man is a traitor so are the Republican Senators and House reps, along with the Democratic leadership who granted the authority to ease drop on America in the first place. Wow, finally an opportunity for the Voters in this country to clean HOUSE and SENATE of those who believe they were above the rest of the country – November 2014 and 2016 will give this country the opportunity to disinfect ourselves from representatives like yourself

    June 10, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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