Meet the Press   |  June 23, 2013

Rogers: Every legal avenue should be used to bring Snowden back

House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., discusses Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified information and the end game of bringing him back to the United States.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> joining me now, democratic senator from illinois, the assistant majority leader dick durbin . republican senator from oklahoma, tom coburn . republican congressman from michigan, the chair of the intelligence committee , mike rogers . and the democratic congresswoman from california, loretta sanchez . welcome to all of you. i want to go through some of the hot topics on capitol hill and move through some of these things. but i've got to start here with this breaking news. let me go with you, chairman rogers. reaction to what you've heard and to the developments this morning.

>> well, it's concerning. obviously, what appears to be as of today that he is flying -- will catch another flight from moscow , many believe to cuba. we know there is air traffic from moscow to cuba, then on to venezuela . and when you look at it, ef overy one of those nations is hostile to the united states . if he could go to north korea and iran he could round out his government oppression tour by snowden . so you think about what he says he wants and what his actions are, it defies logic. he has taken information that does not belong to him, it belongs to the people of the united states . he has jeopardized our national security . i disagree with the reporter. clearly, the bad guys have already changed their way. remember, these were counterterrorism programs essentially, and we have seen that bad guys overseas, terrorists who are committing and plot eight tacks on the united states and our allies, have changed the way they operate. we've already seen that. to say that that is not harm to feel the national security of the united states or our safety is just dead wrong.

>> and we mentioned the fisa opinion, 80 pages long, doesn't have the opinion but has documents supporting it essentially saying the government overreached, went beyond its authority, and in fact he says we can establish illegality as opposed to what i suggested to him, a judicial review and a change was made. what do you say?

>> this is obviously why the program works. there is judicial review and judicial putback, and rightly so. this is the problem with having a 1,000-piece puzzle, taking three or four pieces and deciding you're now an expert on what that picture looks like. you're going to get it wrong. they're getting it wrong and it's dangerous. so what happened was the court looked at it and said because of a technical difficult ti you're collecting more information than you're allowed to collect. you have to fix it. they came back, they stopped collection, they went back, reviewed it, figured out how to correct that. that's exactly the kind of thing you want to do. by the way, it was reported to congress as well. we reviewed it. we agreed that they had overcollected. and we also agreed the mitigation, the way that they use technology to make sure they weren't collecting certain bits of information was adhered to. that's the way you want a classified system to work when you're not trying to tell the bad guys how we do things.

>> before i bring everybody else in, what lengths should this administration go to track snowden down? the diplomatic route as pete williams reported on could be very difficult if he ends up in venezuela . you're chairman of the house intelligence committee . what should this administration do?

>> they should use every legal avenue we have to bring him back to the united states . and, listen, if he believes that he's doing something good -- and by the way, he went outside all of the whistle-blower avenues that were available to anyone in this government, including people who have classified information . we get two or three vis from whistle-blowers every single week in the committee, and we investigate every one thoroughly. he didn't choose that route. if he really believed he did something good he should get on a plane, come back, and face the consequences of his actions.

>> is he gone? do you think he's gone? not to return?

>> i don't -- i'm not sure i would say gone forever. i do think we'll continue with extradition activities wherever he ends up and should continue to find ways to return him to the united states and get the united states ' public's information back.

>> senator durbin, this is obviously being reported widely on twitter, senator, as you can understand, wikileaks tweeting he has just landed in moscow . edward snowden has just landed in moscow so, he's gone from hong continue and on his way potentially to venezuela , perhaps somewhere else . specifically react to glenn greenwald who says this administration is criminalizing investigative journalism , criminalizing the release of information that could contribute to a healthy debate about this kind of surveillance, and that snowden is not guilty of espionage.

>> well, listen, every president of both political parties' first responsibility is to keep america safe, period, but to do it within the confines of the constitution. that's exactly the debate we're engaged in now. i've ban critic of this bulk collection for years. i've offered amendments in the judiciary committee and on the floor. i believe that it should be restricted. i don't think currently it's serving our nation because it goes way too far. if there's a suspect in the city of washington with some linkage to a terrorist, will we collect the phone records of everyone who makes a phone call in area 202 for five years? if there's a reasonable and specific suspicion, we should go after those who are thought to be complicit in any act that could jeopardize america. having said that, though, this administration has an awesome responsibility to keep us safe and when it comes to classified information has to take care that we don't jeopardize the lives of americans, our troops, our allies and friends around the world by releasing these sorts of things in a public fashion.