U.S. foreign policy expert Richard Grenell tells Newsmax that accused NSA spy Edward Snowden should not be treated as a ‘whistleblower’ and he will most likely be brought back to stand trial in the United States.
“The idea that he is a whistleblower is troubling because whistleblowers usually at first stand up and internally say that there is a problem,” asserted Grenell in an exclusive interview on Friday after federal prosecutors filed a sealed criminal complaint against the former NSA contractor related to his disclosure of classified information on the agency’s secret surveillance programs to the media.
“It’s important to remember that Snowden signed up to spy with the agency. He did it willingly and he signed an agreement to not disclose classified material,” according to Grenell, who was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush to serve as director of communications and public diplomacy for the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. More recently, he served as foreign policy and national security spokesman for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“He violated his own personal agreement and yet nothing has changed from the program from when he originally signed up,” Grenell explained.
A former U.S. diplomat with top secret security clearance tells Newsmax that Chinese officials will most likely “find a way” to allow Snowden to be returned from Hong Kong, where he is believed to have gone into hiding.
“China will find a way to look the other way and turn him back over to us. They don’t have any use for him anymore,” the former diplomat explained. “When the U.S. government makes it a priority, the Chinese government is going to have to have a very compelling reason why they would not comply.”
The former diplomat predicted that China would “find a way to look the other way” without publicly assisting U.S. officials.
“Low and behold he’ll be captured and brought back, or he will be told he’s not going to be protected in China. He will turn himself in once he realizes that china is just not going to be able to protect him,” according to the former diplomat. “He’s too high of a target now.”
Grenell “absolutely” agrees that the U.S. will be successful in bringing Snowden back to stand trial, saying “the federal government has many resources and will be working to bring him back and prosecute him.”
But he believes that extradition will be “clearly difficult.”
“He is someone who signed an oath to defend enemies foreign and domestic and he lied and ended up becoming an enemy of the United States,” Grenell said. “There’s no question that he has lost his integrity and that he is not a whistleblower.”
Unlike the 29-year-old Snowden, the journalists who received leaked information should not be prosecuted, according to Grenell, who acknowledges the reporter’s role to push for more openness and transparency in government.
“That’s a good thing for society,” he added. “Our government leaders are the ones who are supposed to decide when and if leaked classified information is a national security risk — and they are the ones who should go to news organizations and request that they not publicly disclose sources or methods of intelligence gathering.”
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