A former National Security Agency (NSA) official who blew the whistle on extensive electronic surveillance programs in 2001 said Sunday that Edward Snowden, who recently leaked details about such programs to a British newspaper, may have crossed the line from "whistleblower" to "traitor."
Binney said in an interview with USA Today on Sunday that he admired Snowden and thought he was right in exposing information about domestic electronic surveillance programs.
But Snowden "is transitioning from whistleblower to a traitor" by leaking information on clandestine operations designed to gather intelligence on the Russian and Chinese governments, Binney said.
"That's not a public service," he insisted.
Certainly he performed a really great public service to begin with by exposing these programs and making the government in a sense publicly accountable for what they're doing. At least now they are going to have some kind of open discussion like that.
But now he is starting to talk about things like the government hacking into China and all this kind of thing. He is going a little bit too far. I don't think he had access to that program. But somebody talked to him about it, and so he said, from what I have read, anyway, he said that somebody, a reliable source, told him that the U.S. government is hacking into all these countries. But that's not a public service, and now he is going a little beyond public service.
So he is transitioning from whistleblower to a traitor.
Snowden said in a Q&A on the Guardian’s website on Monday that laws protecting Americans against surveillance by their own government should also prevent intelligence services from spying on citizens of other countries.