Former Vice President Dick Cheney declared National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden “a traitor” and questioned whether Snowden acted alone or coordinated with the Chinese government as a spy on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend. The prominent hawk also pushed back against Sen. Rand Paul’s concerns about Americans’ constitutional rights.
“I’m deeply suspicious obviously because he went to China,” Cheney told host Chris Wallace. “That’s not a place where you ordinarily want to go if you’re interested in freedom and liberty and so forth. It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this.”
Cheney feared Snowden would release additional documents that could inflict harm on the U.S. while aiding China.
“I am very, very worried that he still has additional information that he hasn’t released yet, that the Chinese would welcome the opportunity and probably be willing to provide immunity for him or sanctuary for him, if you will, in exchange for what he presumably knows or doesn’t know,” Cheney continued. “I don’t think this is just a one-off disclosure. I think there’s a real danger here that he’ll go beyond that.”
The U.S. must aggressively push China to extradite Snowden, Cheney said, but he believes the Chinese will calculate their decision based on whether or not Snowden could possibly provide them with valuable intelligence information.
“I’m not sure it will do any good. It depends, obviously, on whether or not the Chinese believe he still has value from an intelligence standpoint,” Cheney said. “I’ve got to believe they will work that angle first before they decide whether or not they’re going to turn him over.”
Cheney later said Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was wrong to call sweeping NSA data collection an intrusion or a violation of the Fourth Amendment, alluding to a 1979 Supreme Court case that stated business records of telephone companies were public information, which can be obtained without search warrants.