King's comments come roughly a week after Greenwald reported on a secret telephone data collection program. President Obama, top law enforcement officials and members of Congress have defended the program saying it has been effective in combating terrorism.
"I'm talking about Greenwald. Greenwald not only did he disclose this information, he has said that he has names of CIA agents and assets around the world and is threatening to disclose that," King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Wednesday on Fox News. "The last time that was done in this country we saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece. No right is absolute and even the press has certain restrictions."
King was then asked how Greenwald's reporting was different from Fox News journalist James Rosen, whom the Justice Department recently began investigating for reporting classified intelligence information about North Korea.
"James Rosen never said he's going to release information that are going to kill Americans," King said. "He was never going to disclose the name of CIA agents and operatives around the world the way Greenwald has said that he's threatening to do. That, to me, is a direct attack against Americans, putting Americans at risk."
Since breaking the news about the data collection program, Greenwald has said he would publish more details about the surveillance program. King said Greenwald disclosing details of the program as well as his statements that he planned to report more details showed that he intended "to hurt Americans." He said that legal action could be taken against Greenwald for a combination of the reporting he had already done as well as Greenwald's suggestions that he planned to out CIA agents in future reporting related to the surveillance program.
"To me what shows his intent is the very fact that he's threatening to release the names of CIA agents," King said. "There's no way that helps the United States and that, to me, shows his motivation."
Greenwald responded to King's comments over Twitter.
Only In America can a renowned and devoted terrorism supporter like Peter King be the arbiter of national security and treason.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 12, 2013