Edward Snowden must in no way be perceived as a hero for leaking classified information about U.S. surveillance programs, George W. Bush's former chief speechwriter Marc Theissen says.
Theissen, a Washington Post columnist, says Snowden's charge that the programs abuse privacy rights — along with his flight from the U.S. and praise of the Chinese government — doesn't add up.
"He’s hiding under the wing of Big Brother and accusing us of being Big Brother," Theissen said.
"If he was really a hero, let him show one scintilla of evidence that anyone in the National Security Agency abused this power in any way. The existence of the program should not outrage anybody."
He said Snowden's claim that anybody's emails can be read under the government's secret surveillance has no basis in fact.
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"That would be a crime. Show me any evidence that anybody at the National Security Agency has done that," Theissen said. "Otherwise he's just a felon and a Julian Assange wannabe who ought to be sitting behind bars," he added, referring to the founder of WikiLeaks, which bared secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.
Theissen said that without such government programs that mine phone records and internet data, "we've got nothing. We have no way to stop this, to protect this country."
He hinted that Snowden, in fact, could be working for a foreign power because of his request to a Washington Post reporter that his cryptographic fingerprint be embedded on a document he provided the newspaper.
"[It was] to prove to a foreign government he was the source of the leaks. That means this guy is … cooperating with a foreign government. This man is not a hero. Nobody in the right should call this man a hero," Theissen said.
"He is a criminal who has endangered the lives of American citizens and made it easier for al-Qaida to carry out terrorist attacks on us."
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