Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Friday that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden may have been working with the Chinese government to reveal U.S. intelligence secrets.
“There’s a lot of reason for suspicion,” King said on MSNBC. “First of all the fact that he transferred money to China, the fact that he has studied Chinese, the fact that his girlfriend had some connections to China, the fact that of all the countries in the world he went to China, and he arranged to have the papers, those documents released, on the same weekend that President Obama was meeting with the president of China, and why is he still in China, and what is Chinese intelligence doing with all this?”
King’s remarks come a day after House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said investigators were doing a “thorough scrub” of Snowden’s potential ties to the Chinese government.
“We need to ask a lot more questions about his motives, his connections, where he ended up, why he is there, how he is sustaining himself while he is there, and is the Chinese government fully cooperating,” Rogers said.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong before the story went to print. Many have wondered why he chose to hide out in a country that is notorious for its aggressive surveillance of its own citizens and its efforts to limit free speech.
U.S. officials are not saying whether they know of Snowden’s present whereabouts.
The NSA revelations came at a particularly difficult time for President Obama, who was at the time meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping to discuss cybersecurity. The U.S. has accused the Chinese government of hacking U.S. officials.
On Friday, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who broke the story about the NSA’s phone and Internet surveillance programs, lashed out at what he called a “sustained demonization campaign” against Snowden.
“The predictable personality assaults on Snowden have begun in full force from official Washington and their media spokespeople,” Greenwald wrote. “They are only going to intensify. There is nobody who political officials and their supine media class hate more than those who meaningfully dissent from their institutional orthodoxies and shine light on what they do. The hatred for such individuals is boundless.”
King has said Greenwald should be prosecuted along with Snowden because he was complicit in damaging U.S. national security.