Lieutentant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, the 9/11 whistleblower at the heart of the Able Danger controversy, made some shocking statements Sunday regarding Edward Snowden, the man that just outed himself as the leaker of the National Security Agency's massive phone surveillance operation.
Appearing on Fox News within the past few hours, Shaffer said that Snowden has essentially defected to China, and that whatever information he possesses about this program the Chinese either already have or likely will in the near future.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ANTHONY SHAFFER: I agree with Representative King that this is tragic. There is no way this guy should go about his business without consequences. I don't agree with Peter King with regard to the fact that the program is all legal with the fact that Rep. Sensenbrenner who wrote the Patriot Act said himself, “I didn't intend it to be used that way” break, break.
With that said, Mr. Snowden should have approached someone like me or others who have been whistleblowers, and I would have put him on track to contact either Government on Oversight, Judicial Watch who help whistleblowers. And as Peter King said, he should be disclosing this to certain members of Capitol Hill.
I had to whistleblow on something called Able Danger regarding data mining back pre-9/11 regarding the Gorelick memo and failures to accurately process information. Speaker of the House Denny Hastert asked me to testify. That’s how we did it. It was all above board. We had both open and closed hearings. That is the proper way to do it. Unfortunately for Mr. Snowden, he didn’t do it that way, and I think he’s caused far more problems for himself.
And frankly, Harris, he’s defected. He is in enemy territory right now. I know that China is not technically an adversary of ours, but we know there’s been a ton of hacking going on. So we’ve got to be aware of the fact that whatever information is in his head is now with the Chinese in some form or potentially in the hands of the Chinese in some form.
HARRIS FAULKNER, HOST: Wow! I had not heard anybody put it exactly like that. Now you just probably heard Congressman King of New York talking a little bit about, but you dug in a little bit deeper there. Defected. That’s a word that has a lot of impact?
SHAFFER: It does. He has given the Chinese a huge chit in the game. I mean, let’s be real here. He is a former CIA operative, and I'm telling you right now, with his attitude, the way he has talked about this, he’s just disgruntled, and I suspect that he has information from his CIA days he’s had with him or brought with him.
Let me tell you something else: right now, NSA is panicking because everything that he took they know. All the stuff he downloaded before he left Hawaii they’re going back and checking right now. And let me tell you, a lot more is probably going to come out, and right now, I agree with Representative King, now’s the time to figure out what that guy’s done because we got to figure out how to damage control around it right now.
FAULKNER: Or try to get him extradited out of there. You know, I do want to tell our viewers, initially you and I were going to talk about the program that the NSA was running as being an overreach in your opinion. So as I understand it, though, you would have supported Edward Snowden had he come to you?
SHAFFER: I would have gotten him to the right mechanisms. There are ways of getting information out. As much as I think that Rand Paul, Sen. Paul and others have legitimate criticism, and now we’re going to have a debate. The other notable thing is the President said, “Let’s have a debate.” We should always have a debate in the open. With that said, Representative King is correct. Mr. Snowden had no right to unilaterally on his own without any checking with anybody within his chain of command, within the IG, without anybody’s approval to go public on this. I went public after Congress gave me permission to do that. You got to do this in the right way to be effective. This guy did not want to be effective. He wanted to do damage. And clearly that’s where this is all going right now. He’s done damage and he can do more by the fact that he is sitting in China.
FAULKNER. You know, one of the things that you question when you watch him in this interview brought to us by the Guardian newspaper is just why he felt the desperate need to come forward now. And one of the things he says is because of the way that they were collecting information on everyday Americans he thought that it could possibly fall into the wrong hands. Let’s watch I’ll get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN: Absolutely, I mean, anybody in the positions of access to take technical capabilities that I had could, you know, suck out secrets and pass them on the open market to Russia. You know, they always have an open door as we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FAULKNER: Was he right?
SHAFFER: No, he’s not. He is essentially an admin guy. He’s like a master admin overseeing all the IT in a corporation. I think he has access to things like the briefings. By the way, that’s one of the reasons when I ran these type of operations, we never left briefings on a wide area network or with someone because of this very potential happening. He is not involved. He is not a member of the team running these things. He’s not in the legal oversight team. So as much as I think there may be valid concerns regarding the execution of the program, he’s not in the know. He’s an admin guy.
And frankly, if you look back at his history, he failed, he had problems in the Army, he broke his legs, got kicked out. Didn't like the way CIA was running operations. He says so himself. Unfortunately I think the guy is disgruntled, and I think that’s we he did what he did. It's not about fixing things. It's about trying to basically poke someone in the eye without any interest in trying to fix what he thinks is broken.
FAULKNER: One last question for you. Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the journalists from the Guardian who brought this information to the world, this interview, claim to have more. If there are other Americans in Edward Snowden's shoes, if they’re like him and they have information to get out there, what would you tell them at this point?
SHAFFER: Look, I admire a lot of what Glenn does. I think he has the interest of the country to try to get the right information out. In this case he’s wrong. And I think unfortunately he probably does have more information. I don't necessarily think he has other sources. I think Snowden has given far more to him than Snowden is willing to admit at this point. I think we’re going to see a treasure trove of stuff, not for the better I don’t believe, coming out over the next two to three weeks. With that said, you know, we got to start, NSA probably is pretty much aware what this guy took with him. I’m sure they’re doing a very thorough check of whatever he printed off before he left Hawaii about three weeks ago.
FAULKNER: Well, I tell you, when you and I were going to talk, we were going to speak about overreach. You’ve talked about that a little bit, but you’ve given us a word tonight: defect. That this young man has defected to China.
SHAFFER: That’s essentially what it is.
FAULKNER: And that’s a powerful term.