Former Vice President Dick Cheney called Edward Snowden a traitor for leaking top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, in an interview that aired Monday afternoon on CNN.
Cheney added that he hopes the U.S. is eventually able to catch Snowden who was granted a one-year asylum in Russia in August, and hopes he receives “the justice he deserves.”
Cheney said Snowden’s leaks, which most recently revealed that the National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, have hurt America’s ability to defend itself. The former second-in-command would not comment on whether or not that the surveillance began in 2002, as the documents indicated.
“The fact is, we do collect a lot of intelligence, without speaking about any particular target or group of targets,” Cheney told CNN”s Jake Tapper. “That intelligence capability is enormously important to the United States, to our conduct of foreign policy, to the defense matters, to economic matters. And, I’m a strong supporter of it.”
The same day Cheney came out against Snowden, Wikileaks set up a “Free Snowden,” a website designed to collect money to defend the former NSA contractor whose asylum ends in August 2014.