The key whistleblower to the media on the National Security Agency's secret spying on the Internet and phone records of millions of Americans, Edward Snowden, is still a frustration and possible threat to the U.S. government and national security apparatus, according to lawmakers.
After fleeing to Hong Kong to avoid extradition, lawmakers say Snowden may now be cooperating with the Chinese government, the Wall Street Journal reports:
Without presenting any evidence, the top two lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee raised questions about whether Mr. Snowden, 29, has defected to Hong Kong and has any ties to China. "Clearly, we're going to make sure that there's a thorough scrub of what his China connections are," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.).
Lawmakers were most concerned Thursday about Mr. Snowden's possible foreign affiliations and his ability to get a hold of such sensitive documents.
"He's obviously now decided that he wants to relay information about collection for foreign type collections which goes beyond his original, at least stated, intention," Mr. Rogers said. "There is a long list of questions we have to get answered about does he have a relationship with a foreign government and is there more to this story?"
Mr. Ruppersberger also zeroed in on possible China connections.
"He chose to go to China, a country that's cyber attacking us every single day; taking billions of dollars of American business data," Mr. Ruppersberger said.
The U.S. government is worried about what Snowden may have shared with the Chinese, as the South China Post, a local newspaper, reported Friday that Snowden had shared detailed data on the dates and IP addresses of specific computers in mainland China and Hong Kong that the NSA hacked over the last four years.
The New York Times reports that Snowden told the Post that the computers were in the civilian sector, a definition that Western experts do not take as too distinct from the government in China.
On "Real News" Friday the panel discussed lawmakers' worry about what connections the leaker has to China, what other information Snowden could have, how this will impact U.S.-China relations, and if Snowden is a hero or traitor.
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