WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Longtime CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer called out National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden during Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”
Schieffer, who described Snowden as a “narcissistic young man,” believes it’s in the best interest of the former defense contractor to leave Hong Kong and come back to the United States.
“[H]e is no hero,” Schieffer said of Snowden. “If he has a valid point — and I’m not even sure he does — he would greatly help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences.”
Schieffer said true American heroes – like civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks – never ran away.
“For one thing, I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks running off and hiding in China,” Schieffer said. “The people who led the civil rights movement were willing to break the law and suffer the consequences. That’s a little different than putting the nation’s security at risk and running away.”
Schieffer added that the public needs to hold the U.S. government accountable over the surveillance programs on Americans.
“I don’t know yet if the government has overreached since 9/11 to reinforce our defenses, and we need to find out. What I do know, though, is that these procedures were put in place and are being overseen by officials we elected, and we should hold them accountable,” Schieffer commented.
Snowden, 29, fled the U.S. for a Hong Kong hotel last month to go public with top secret documents gathered through his work in Hawaii as a contractor through Booz Allen Hamilton with the National Security Agency, where he worked as a systems analyst. He revealed startlingly voracious spy programs that sweep up millions of Americans’ telephone records, emails and Internet data in the hunt for terrorists.
One program collects hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records. The second – known as PRISM — gathers audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas, and probably some Americans in the process, who use major providers such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo.
With the United States considering criminal charges against him, Snowden told the South China Morning Post he hoped to stay in the autonomous region of China because and he has faith in “the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.”
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