What Has Carly Fiorina Said About Edward Snowden? She's Taken Sides In This Controversy

On Monday, The New York Times reported that President-elect Donald Trump had met with Carly Fiorina to discuss foreign policy, national security, and the Director of National Intelligence position. That Trump may be considering Fiorina for the job has consequently raised questions about Fiorina's qualifications. For example, during the Republican primaries, Fiorina addressed the role of the private sector in protecting national security during a debate by describing her own willingness to help the NSA after 9/11. And while Fiorina's hawkishness is not good news for Edward Snowden, it might be for the NSA.

As Fiorina recounted during the debate, she received a request shortly after 9/11 from the NSA, back when she was still the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The NSA needed equipment, she said, so she gave it to them, arguing that in matters of national security, "the private sector will help, just as I helped after 9/11. But they must be engaged, and they must be asked."

When Fiorina was running for president, she believed she should be the one to ask the private sector to "be engaged," as she put it. She believes in a global American presence, a hawkish view that makes her quite similar to former opponent Marco Rubio. But she also believes in the private sector's involvement with national security, and much of her advising work to security agencies was consistent with this theme.

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It is for this reason, perhaps, that she had little patience for Snowden following his whistleblowing on the NSA. "I think Edward Snowden has been terribly destructive," Fiorina told CNN. "He has been less than forthcoming. It was a very slanted portrayal about what the NSA does, and he knows it."

However, as The Washington Post pointed out last year, Fiorina has another reason to dislike Snowden. Snowden's data leaks revealed more than just an NSA request for equipment; it also indicated that the government had asked companies in the private sector to provide access to customer information and encrypted data. Fiorina — after admitting that security agencies could be more transparent — chose to describe Snowden's portrayal of the NSA as "slanted," but the documents Snowden released suggest that Fiorina's desire to see the private sector engaged in national security efforts could be a potentially dangerous one.

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ABC News reported that Fiorina did not respond to any questions about whether or not she would be taking on a cabinet-level position in a Trump administration. But if the president-elect does nominate her for the Director of National Intelligence position, the role of the private sector in national security efforts — as well as Snowden's fate — could see some changes.