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Kerry: Lives May be Lost Due to Snowden's Betrayal


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warns there will be consequences for countries that help former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden avoid arrest for disclosing secret details of U.S. government surveillance of telephone and Internet activities.

With Snowden on the run from Hong Kong, Secretary of State John Kerry said there will be consequences for countries that help him escape U.S. justice.

"All appropriate countries have been notified with respect to the status, his status, legally, and that is the appropriate step to take, to put them on notice that he is an indicted fellow, he is an indicted individual, indicted with three felony accounts and that he is wanted by the legal process of the United States," said Kerry.

Ecuador is considering Snowden's asylum request. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Snowden believes he would not receive a fair trial in the United States.

"The man who intended to expose acts that affects the fundamental liberties of all people now finds himself persecuted by those very people who should offer an explanation to the governments and the citizens of the world regarding the claims made by Mr. Snowden," said Patiño.

But in an interview with VOA, Kerry said Snowden has put counterterrorism at risk.

"He has put individuals at risk. And it may well be that lives will be lost in the United States because terrorists now have knowledge of something that they need to avoid that they didn't have knowledge of before he did this," said Kerry.

Snowden supporters say he is standing up for the right to privacy and exposing government misconduct in the collection of phone and Internet records.

"All governments, most governments do it, and China does it, the U.S. is doing it. So I think what he did was actually a very brave thing. He was willing to give up everything for that," said John Wakefield.

Kerry told VOA that Snowden is not a whistleblower like those who helped expose secret U.S. policies during the Vietnam War.

"He has betrayed his country because he took an oath. He swore that he would uphold the secrecy. He was given access to documents based on that trust and he violated that trust. And he hasn't violated it in any way similar, nothing similar to Daniel Ellsberg or somebody who was revealing a government who is actually lying or that had a completely distorted view of something going on. This man just took real information and put it out there because he happens to believe something that is not in fact justified by the facts," he said.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Snowden said he wanted to help people decide for themselves if the surveillance is warranted.

"I think that the public is owed an explanation of the motivations behind the people who made these disclosures that are outside of the democratic model," said Snowden.

But Kerry says the surveillance program protects the right to live free from terrorism.

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