Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday defended the National Security Agency’s data surveillance programs and labeled admitted leaker Edward Snowden as a “traitor.”

“I think he’s a traitor…I think he has committed crimes,” Cheney said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

The former number two to President George W. Bush said he suspects Snowden was a Chinese spy all along, questioning his decision to flee to Hong Kong ahead of releasing classified information on the NSA’s phone and Internet monitoring programs.

Cheney defended those data surveillance methods as essential to national security, arguing that the threat from terrorism is worse than ever.

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