There's good reason to spy on other countries — even an ally — former Vice President Dick Cheney said in an interview
"You never know what you're going to need when you need it," he told CNN.
"We do collect a lot of intelligence," he conceded "Without speaking about any particular target or group of targets, that intelligence capability is enormously important to the United States, to our conduct in foreign policy, to defense matters, economic matters, and I'm a strong supporter of it."
"We do have a fantastic intelligence capability, worldwide, against all kinds of potential issues and concerns. We are vulnerable, as was shown on 9/11."
Last week, the German government said it had obtained information the United States may have bugged the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
And just days later, the Guardian, a British newspaper, reported
the U.S. National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, citing a classified document provided by Edward Snowden.
Cheney called Snowden a traitor, saying his leaks of NSA documents since June have hurt the United States' ability to defend itself.
"Some people want to say he's a whistle-blower. He's no whistle-blower," Cheney said. "He's done enormous damage to the United States by talking about sources, and methods, and the way we collect intelligence, and that's a violation of the law."
Snowden, who is living in Russia under asylum, had access to classified information and violated the conditions under which he got it, said Cheney.
"I hope we can catch him at some point, and that he receives the justice he deserves," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report
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