Debate over Snowden, NSA dominates Face the Nation

(CBS News) -- Former head the National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that the NSA has become “infinitely weaker” as a result of Edward Snowden’s choice to leak classified documents to the public.

“It is the most significant hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage,” he said.

Hayden also said his view of NSA leaker Edward Snowden is growing harsher.  

"I used to say he was a defector," he said. "I'm now kind of drifting in the direction of perhaps more harsh language —" "Such as?" asked Major Garrett, filling in for host Bob Schieffer Sunday. "Such as 'traitor,'" Hayden said.

He also called Snowden’s actions treasonous.

“He has offered to reveal more American secrets to those governments in return for something. And that something is asylum,” said Hayden. "I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason."

Gen. Hayden’s comments made headlines Sunday at The Huffington Post, Politico, The Hill, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Washington Times, UPI and The National Review.

Thomas Drake, a former NSA employee turned whistleblower, reacted to Gen. Hayden’s comments later in the program.

“I don't consider him a traitor at all,” said Drake.  “I consider him a whistleblower.”

 “He exposed prima facie evidence regarding the extent of the surveillance program, its unconstitutionality and the fact we're losing huge amounts of trust overseas.”

Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s legal advisors, argued that Snowden wouldn’t have a fair trial if he returned to the U.S.

“The very fact that he's been charged under the Espionage Act shows that it would not be a fair process,” Radack explained.

“It's overcharging, and as evidenced by Tom Drake's case, you don't use a law meant to go after spies to go after whistleblowers.”

You can read more about our conversation with Radack and Drake at UPI and The Washington Times.

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    Louise Dufresne is an Associate Producer for Face the Nation.