Dick Cheney: Edward Snowden a 'traitor' who likely spied for China (+video)
Officials and lawmakers are scrambling to explain the National Security Agency's massive surveillance program leaked by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. Many of them weighed in on the Sunday TV news shows.
As officials and the media try to figure out where National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is these days, details about the massive anti-terrorist surveillance program he revealed to a startled world are starting to be made public.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Edward Snowden on the run: villain or hero?
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Those details may be sketchy at the moment – designed to reassure Americans that their e-mail and other personal data isn’t being scrutinized by over-eager intelligence analysts like Mr. Snowden – but that hasn’t stopped officials and lawmakers from offering strong opinions, as many of them did on the Sunday TV news shows.
"I'm deeply suspicious obviously because he went to China. That's not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth," Mr. Cheney said on Fox News Sunday. "It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this."
[Snowden says he went to Hong Kong because of its "commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.”]
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Speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press” Sunday, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, senior Republican on the Select Intelligence Committee, said of Snowden, “If he's not a traitor, then he's pretty darn close to it.”
"As far as getting him back here, he needs to look an American jury in the eye and explain why he has disclosed sources and methods that are going to put American lives in danger," said Sen. Chambliss. “We know now that because of his disclosure that the terrorists, the bad guys around the world, are taking some different tactics, and they know a little bit more about how we're gathering information on them.”
Critics of what Snowden’s supporters call legitimate whistle-blowing on an intrusive and possibly illegal spy program got some ammunition for their side of the argument over the weekend.
Top US intelligence officials told the Associated Press Saturday that information gleaned from two controversial data-collection programs run by the NSA – collecting metadata on phone records and on Internet traffic – thwarted potential terrorist plots in the US and more than 20 other countries, and that gathered data is destroyed every five years.