When Snowden — Edward, the Lord of Leaks — was asked on Monday by an AP correspondent how he felt about being called a traitor, the 29-year-old gleefully replied:
It’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American.
In an interview broadcast Monday night, President Obama defended the NSA programs and the “extraordinary professionals” who are “dedicated to keeping the American people safe.” But Obama does agree with the little leaker on one point: He’s no fan of Cheney, and 44 is not keen on being compared to 43’s No. 2.
Obama told Charlie Rose on his PBS program:
Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, ‘Yeah, you know? He took [the Bush-Cheney approach] all lock, stock and barrel.’ My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances.”