Sen. Menendez and Rep. Royce on 'This Week'

Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Ed Royce on Edward Snowden and tensions with Russia.
3:18 | 08/11/13

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Transcript for Sen. Menendez and Rep. Royce on 'This Week'
Thank you. Thank you. And the chairs of the foreign affairs committee, robert menendez, democrat, and republican congressman ed royce, the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. Senator, let me begin with you, you heard this from lon snowden, and his attorney, they don't believe that ed snowden could have gotten a fair hearing had he come to congress. I don't think that's true. I as a father appreciate the vigorous defense that mr. Snowden is providing for his son. But in my view, ed snowden is a fugitive who deserves to be in an american courtroom, not in asylum in russia. I believe he would have got an fair hearing. All the time issues related to the government by whistle blowers who come forth and bring those issues to the attention of the congress is often the way to have action. He didn't need to undermine america's national security to pursue whatever his conscious led him to do. There's a process by which he could have pursued his interest in a way that doesn't undermine the national security of the united states. When we have our sources and methods known by our enemies, we undermine the national security of the united states. I would say it's easy since we have not, thank god, had an attack on american soil since SEPTEMBER 11th, TO MINIMIZE THE Threat, but it's real. And the terrorists only have to get lucky once. We have to do it right 100% of the time. That's a tough standard. And a key member of your committee from california who's chair of the subcommittee dealing with russia seems to have sympathy with edward snowden. This is him yesterday on c-span. I thought he was being loyal to the rest of us by letting the american people know that the government was getting out of hand. Accepting him for asylum, i think, was not as hostile an act as its being portrayed. Do you agree with those views on edward snowden and russia? No, I do not. And we have to keep in mind here that the conundrum we're in is one in which al-qaeda is learning how we track them, and second, you know, with this new master bomb-maker that they've used in yemen to develop this new strategy, the underwear bomber, for example, his attempted attack was at the behest -- at the -- with the support of this master bomb-maker. This master bomb-maker now is teaching his trade, we happen to know, to a lot of other bomb-makers in yemen, and they're going on the internet with this capability, and with the hope of bringing into the united states agents to carry out these types of attacks. Attacks which are undetectable. And so we're in the process of trying to monitor what al-qaeda is doing overseas and here in the united states in order to try to replicate that particular attempted attack and to expand it demonstrably. So when you have someone who is giving out the means and methods in which we're tracking al-qaeda, it is a problem for the united states. And secondarily, when we're talking about the former head of the kgb, president putin in russia, this is not been an ally. As you know, the administration has tried to engage him on several issues such as missile defense, and has worked with him on trade issues. And we have not seen any reciprocation from the russians because this former kgb agent still has a sense of hostility to the west and to the united states. So, senator, how do we get the relationship with russia back on track? The president says there's no bad relations between he and president putin personally, but they are at odds on every major issue. Well, look, you know, russia should be looking towards how do they achieve a prosperous future for the citizens versus going back to an authoritarian past. We seem to be more invested in the effort to create a relationship with russia that can be productive for both countries more than putin is. It seems to me that as we've tried to restart this relationship several times, maybe now is a moment to pause and think about how we're going to move forward with russia. They are unresponsive to us as it relates to the tragedies that are going on in syria. They are unresponsive to us as it relates to further nuclear arms reduction. They are unresponsive when they violate the rights of gay and lesbians including foreign visitors who would come to russia and be arrested. They are unresponsive when they stop the adoptions by americans of russian children. I look at that and think it's time to pause and think about the relationship and how to pursue it in a way to promote the national security and interest of the united states. Do you think that ed snowden would get a fair trial in the united states? I think he could get a fair trial in the united states. And I think that the concern here is that in -- in going to china and going to russia and in particular with respect to the authorities that he's meeting with in russia, I think this further compounds the problem for u.S. Intelligence. And I think we have existing whistle blower capabilities here in the united states. On a regular basis, whistle blowers come forward, give information to congress, and we attempt to address those issues. Going to china and going to russia was not the solution to the problem. It compounds our difficulties in the united states with respect to al-qaeda. Congressman, senator, thank you for your time. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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