Meet the Press | June 30, 2013
>> let me ask you about the controversy surrounding these nsa surveillance programs and the issue of spying. you were booed by some progressives at a recent conference because you talked about edward snowden who leaked all this classified material and having broken the law.
>> i understand. i understand.
>> as there is widening concern about a quote, unquote, surveillance state , do you think we need more edward snowdens in this country who leak this material and force this kind of debate or less?
>> no. no. i think what we have to do is obey the constitution of the united states . and by the way, it was a smattering when i objected to him being called a hero, and yes, he did break the law.
>> he's not a hero in your mind.
>> no. here's the thing. i've been involved in the intelligence side of federal government for a long time. we all know that we have to have a balance between security, protecting the american people , and liberty. we take an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the american people . and so i have -- all of the legislation that i've been involved in puts serious obstacles to having surveillance that comes anywhere near to violating the rights of the american people , including the privacy and civil liberties board, which i think will now be further strengthened. it was a recommendation of the 9/11 commission of when we won the house hr-1, the first bill we passed was to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, one of which was to protect their civil liberties , our proivacy and civil liberties board. when the left or the right wants to say that president bush -- excuse me -- president obama 's a fourth term of president bush , it couldn't be farther from the truth. president bush exercised unfettered, unlimited presidential discretion for surveillance. under president obama in '08, before he even became president, we passed the fisa amendments, which put up obstacles to the federal government doing surveillance, which put oversight, whether it'sment in or thes general, whether it's the congress of the united states , whether it ee's privacy or civil liberties board. so i would love to show you the chart to show you what was happening under president bush and what is the law now. whether it's a democrat or republican president, we do not want any president to have what president bush had, unlimited presidential discretion.
>> there's obviously a debate about whether this president has expanded some of those programs. beyond that, you heard the president this week say, look, i'm not going to scramble jets to get a 29-year-old hacker. how important do you think it is that america track snoeld snoed dou edward snowden down and make him face justice?
>> i think it's pretty good he's stuck in the moscow airport. that's okay with me.
>> but he's still in a position to leak more documents.
>> i think the bigger question here is who are these consultants who now -- we've gotten into a -- this president has reduced the number of consultants as i understand --
>> who get into the nsa, the contractors.
>> and this revolving door between the nsa and hamilton, taking that to admiral mcconnell as well.
>> how aggressive should we be in tracking him down?
>> the fact is we have to really know evidence, we have to know what is it that he has. and i don't know that he has that much stuff. since i don't know, he may know something about the machinery. i don't know that he knows that much about the content. but i think that anybody thought he was a hero to begin with now that he's threatening in any event to share information with russia and china, if, in fact, he has any information, i think that should disabuse anybody of the notion that he is a hero.