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Snowden no whistleblower or hero: FBI chief

Published on Jan 10, 2014 12:04 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday he does not consider Edward Snowden worthy of being called a whistleblower or hero, and was baffleed by reports granting him the label.

The federal criminal investigation and intelligence chief swiftly dismissed calls for clemency issued by The New York Times and The Guardian newspapers, which said Snowden had done the United States a service by exposing the vast scope of secret digital surveillance run by the National Security Agency.

"I see the government operating the way the founders intended," Comey told a small group of reporters, "so I have trouble applying the whistleblower label to... someone who basically disagrees with the way our government is structured and operates." Reports based on Snowden's leaked files have revealed a global dragnet run by Washington and its allies in the English-speaking world, scooping up Internet traffic and telephone call logs.

The revelations triggered outrage, including from some US telecoms users and foreign governments targeted in the indiscriminate sweeps, and it has touched off a political and legal debate in the United States.

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