Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Wednesday at the University of Connecticut that Edward Snowden helped terrorists by leaking classified NSA documents on secret government surveillance programs to the public.
“I think turning over a lot of that material, intentionally or unintentionally, because of the way it can be drained, gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like,” she said.
Clinton, widely suspected to be considering a 2016 presidential bid, added that she was perplexed by Snowden’s decision to flee the U.S. after leaking the documents.
“If he (Snowden) were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been.”
“When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers. If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been,” she said. “But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly.”
Snowden was charged by federal prosecutors last June with three felonies in connection with his leaks of classified information about secret government surveillance programs to the public.
At the event, Clinton also attempted to justify the NSA programs unveiled by Snowden.
“People were desperate to avoid another attack, and I saw enough intelligence as a senator from New York, and then certainly as secretary [of State], that this is a constant—there are people right this minute trying to figure out how to do harm to Americans and to other innocent people,” Clinton said. “So it was a debate that needs to happen, so that we make sure that we’re not infringing on Americans’ privacy, which is a valued, cherished personal belief that we have. But we also had to figure out how to get the right amount of security.”
(H/T: National Journal)
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter