John Kerry Tells VOA: Snowden Betrayed Country

John Kerry speaks with VOA reporterWASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden “betrayed his country” and put the lives of Americans at risk by violating secrecy laws.

In a one-on-one interview with VOA’s Scott Stearns, Secretary of State Kerry said Snowden took an oath to uphold secrecy laws and violated that trust.

“He has put individuals at risk,” Kerry said. “[It] may well be that lives are lost in the United States because terrorists now have knowledge of something they need to avoid that they didn’t have knowledge of before he did this.”

The secretary’s comments came amid conflicting reports on the whereabouts of the former contractor, who had been planning to take a flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, after he was allowed to fly out of Hong Kong.

During the interview, Kerry was also asked if the election of a new president in Iran last week provides any optimism about a resolution of the nuclear issue.

Kerry told Stearns he hoped Iran will find a way to be “reasonable with respect to the nuclear program. And recognize that they really need to come to the table with proposals.”  He said proving their nuclear program was peaceful was not complicated and like other nations, they have an obligation to do so.

In a wide-ranging interview, the secretary also discussed U.S. plans to provide aid to Syrian rebels, and the need for continuing international involvement in Mali, which he said had become “an attractive magnet for al-Qaida in the Maghreb.”

On North Korea, Kerry said the United States “will not rest until they have denuclearized.”  He said, “the fact is that where they are today can be undone and should be undone. Because, if it isn’t, then South Korea and Japan will follow.”

Kerry, who was making several stops in the Middle East during his 13-day trip, spoke to VOA during his first visit to India as Secretary of State.  VOA’s Scott Stearns has been traveling with the Secretary.

For more information about this release contact Kyle King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at (202) 203-4959, or write kking@voanews.com.  Additional information can be found at the VOA Public Relations website www.insidevoa.com, or the main news site www.voanews.com.

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