Secy. Kerry to CNN’s Elise Labott on Snowden: “People may die as a consequence of what this man did.”
Secretary of State John Kerry sat down with CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott today to discuss the efforts to return Edward Snowden to the United States. Secy. Kerry said, “What I see is an individual who threatened this country and put Americans at risk through the acts that he took. People may die as a consequence of what this man did. It is possible the United States will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in some way or another, that they didn’t know before.” Portions of this interview aired during a special The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer — “NSA Leaker On The Run” — in the 6 p.m. ET hour.
PLEASE CREDIT: CNN’s Elise Labott
Highlights from Full Interview:
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. IT MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Let’s talk about Mr. Snowden right now. Tell me what the U.S. is doing to try and get him back.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, the United States, through various agencies, is reaching out to lots of countries in an effort to try to secure Mr. Snowden. He needs to come back to America and face the justice system based on the choices that he’s made.
KERRY: He was under a sealed indictment. And the moment the indictment was unsealed and we knew of it, at that point, his passport was pulled within two hours. So his passport was pulled immediately that there was an unsealed — not indictment, as a matter of fact. It was a complaint.
And so we don’t know what authorities allowed him to leave under those circumstances. We obviously have to find out from the Chinese what happened. We hope that the Russians will recognize the request of the United States, particularly given that over the last two years, we have sent seven prisoners back that they requested from the United States.
So we need to cooperate on this because it’s important to upholding rule of law. And we hope they will.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, I mean, clearly China, on behalf of Hong Kong, helped him escape extradition. And this is after he leaked information about your surveillance activities on them. Is this payback?
KERRY: On the contrary. It’s not our surveillance activities on them; it’s our surveillance activities anonymously —
LABOTT: On thousands of Chinese citizens – and the Chinese university.
KERRY: — anonymously — anonymously in order to be able to track terrorism. And if there is an act of terrorism or some linkage that is appropriate, some —
LABOTT: In China?
KERRY: — whatever it is, it could be anywhere in the world. Whatever it is, then you have to go to court. And you have to have court approval in order to do anything that is actually name-specific, person-specific.
So this is completely anonymous, completely random. You know, it’s really inappropriate for people to be believing that this is somehow an invasion of their privacy, because there’s no person identified with any of this unless a court were to approve it, the Congress of the United States has approved this. The judiciary approves it. The executive has approved it.
This has been United States policy for some years.
KERRY: What I see is an individual who threatened this country and put Americans at risk through the acts that he took. People may die as a consequence of what this man did. It is possible the United States will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in some way or another, that they didn’t know before.
This is a very dangerous act.