Donald Trump has doubt who's to blame for the United States' apparent inability to get National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden back in the country to face charges.
On Monday morning he called into Fox & Friends to announce he feels it is 'pathetic' that the administration apparently can not capture him.
According to the Huffington Post, Trump said the information that Snowden released has weakened U.S. relations with China, and his travels around the world have damaged the country’s relationships still further.
'He’s a terrible guy who’s really set our country back. China’s now looking at us like… we were hitting them hard on what they were doing, in terms of what they were taking from us, and now they are really going at it, they’re saying we’re far worse than they ever were,' Trump said, apparently suggesting that the exposure of the Bush-era created spying dragnet was Obama's fault.
'And he’s really hurt us in terms of relationship,' Trump continued. 'And it really shows how weak our country’s been and has become when you cannot get this guy back.'
Trump, the former presidential candidate and the man most famous for his birther campaign against the president, also suggested that Snowden’s time in Hong Kong and Russia could have exposed US information to the two countries, and so he suggested retribution must be 'swift and really strong' to prevent other leakers.
'For him to be ensconced in China, and then all of a sudden he gets out because they say, ‘Oh I’m sorry you sent in the wrong document, and we would have done it but you sent in the wrong document.' And they got a lot of information out of this guy. This guy is a bad guy. And, you know, there is still a thing called execution,' Trump said, implying Snowden divulged state secrets to the Chinese.
On Monday it was being reported that Snowden was scheduled to fly to Cuba, but when this did not transpire Trump said the U.S. needed to get him back.
'Now nobody knows where he is, but we have to get him back and we have to get him back fast. They’re talking about it could take years, it could take months but maybe years. That would be pathetic,' Trump said.
Trump explained he had his own theory about why Snowden didn't leave Russia as expected on Monday.
'He’s revealing things that nobody thought possible, and I think he’s probably got stuff that’s far – that’s maybe why he’s staying in Russia. Russia’s very smart, and they’re probably getting every possible thing out of him,' Trump said. 'They say, 'Hey wait a minute, let’s not send him to Ecuador or wherever he’s going. Let’s immediately — let’s talk to him for a couple more days. This is good stuff.'
Trump then reminded the stunned Fox News panel that in the old days spies 'used to be executed.' Trump said he felt that Snowden has threatened U.S. interests too much with his ability to expose classified information about US surveillance programs.
'This guy is a bad guy,' Trump said. 'You know there is still a thing called execution. You really have thousands of people with access to the kind of material like this. We’re not going to have a country any longer.'