FBI Director Robert Mueller listens as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2013.
FBI Director Robert Mueller listens as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2013.

VOA News – The director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller, is vowing to take swift action against the former CIA analyst based in Hawaii who has confessed to leaking documents exposing a pair of top secret government surveillance programs.

Speaking to lawmakers Thursday, FBI chief Mueller confirmed that a criminal investigation has been opened into the leaks, which he said have dealt a blow to U.S. national security.

“These disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety. We are taking all necessary steps to hold the person responsible for these disclosures,” said Mueller.

He did not mention the name of the confessed leaker, Edward Snowden, who fled from Hawaii to Hong Kong, and vowed to fight any attempt to extradite him to the U.S. to face charges.

Mueller defended the surveillance programs, saying they are a legal and crucial tool in preventing terrorist attacks. He said their disclosure could prompt potential terrorists to change their behavior and become more difficult to track.

General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, says the programs carried out by his agency have helped foil dozens of terrorist attacks. Lawmakers say the NSA will soon present details on this claim.

New revelations 

Meanwhile, Snowden, an ex-NSA contractor, continues to speak with media outlets from Hong Kong. In his latest interviews, Snowden has moved beyond criticizing the domestic spying programs, and is now also focusing on what he says are widespread U.S. hacking attempts against foreign targets.

On Wednesday, he told the South China Morning Postthe NSA has been hacking computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009, with targets including public officials, businesses and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The revelation threatens to further complicate relations between China and the United States, which have already been trading increasingly fierce accusations on cyber hacking and espionage.

For the second straight day, Chinese state media, which often reflect official opinion, devoted a considerable amount of coverage to the issue.

An editorial in the Communist Party-controlled Global Times said Beijing deserves an explanation from the U.S. on the alleged hacking attempts. It said Chinese officials should try to acquire more information from Snowden and “use it as evidence to negotiate with the U.S.”

So far, there is no evidence Beijing officials have sought out any such information from Snowden, who is in an unknown location in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous sovereign territory of China.

But the editorials now suggest Beijing would be willing to use the leaks to deflect pressure from Washington, which had attempted to hold China accountable for its alleged hacking attacks on U.S. targets.

A series of recent private and official reports have accused Chinese hackers of stealing information, ranging from the designs for dozens of top U.S. weapons systems to other trade secrets and commercial data that would benefit Chinese businesses.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I can see skepticism, but the 29 year old put a lot on the line and will probably never lead a normal life again, while the the people on the House Intelligence Comity only have to worry about reelection and are unlikely to be all that personally impacted no matter what they say. So I would say their incentive to lie is currently greater.

    • Yes, he will NEVER have a normal life as KHON2 reports' NSA leaker charged with espionage, theft
      Disclosure of the criminal complaint came as President Barack Obama held his first meeting with five members of the obscure Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as his intelligence chief sought ways to help Americans understand more about sweeping government surveillance efforts exposed by Snowden.
      They met with Obama for an hour in the White House Situation Room, questioning the president on two NSA programs that have stoked controversy…"
      More at; http://www.khon2.com/2013/06/21/nsa-leaker-charge

  2. there is no evidence that surveillance programs prevents terrorist attacks.during the times that Mueller has been FBI director he has gone before congressand concealed information about the true extent of torture and abuse of detainees at Gitmo,Iraq and Afghanistan by the CIA and the military,as one example.Mueller has concealed abuses of the Patriot Act. and Mueller has directed the FBI when the agency was profiling muslims and collect info on them without probable causes.at the sametime those stupid sting operations(entrapment schemes) were happening to target potential "terrorists. Maybe we should conduct an investigation on the FBI and their conduct.

  3. It's young, nerds w/o any dedication to the USA or our flag who NSA contracters hire cheap. These contractors are easy targets,China will pay them what they want.

    Then BOs admin. & cabinet ignore veterans w/experience with clearances & vetted.
    Good work B.O.

  4. the Stasi's motto was "to know everything".is that what the FBI and NSA want? "to know everything"? "if you see something,say something!" is what our fascist-leaning Depart. of Homeland Security is requesting americans to spy on one another.

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