WASHINGTON - Spying among countries isn't new to international relations, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said today, noting that she suspects the French government did it to her.
"Let me just say this, this is not a surprise to people. Countries spy on each other," Albright said at a Center for American Progress conference in Washington today. "And I will very much remember when I was at the United Nations, the French ambassador coming up to me saying, 'Why did you say that to somebody about why do you want women in the government?' And I said, 'Excuse me?'
"They had an intercept of something, so it isn't exactly as if this is new," added Albright, the first woman to become U.S. secretary of state.
She is now a professor of international relations at Georgetown University in Washington.
Albright went on to say that Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked documents to the media detailing some of the agency's surveillance programs, damaged the United States and has made Secretary of State John Kerry's job more difficult.
"I think that a lot of the things that have come out, I think are specifically damaging, because of they are negotiating positions and a variety of ways that we have to go about business and I think it has made life very difficult for Secretary Kerry," said Albright, who served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton
She called Snowden's actions "criminal" and cautioned against glorifying him.
"This is my personal opinion, glorifying Snowden is a mistake," Albright, 76, said. "I think that what he has done is a criminal act and it has hurt us very, very badly."