U.S. politician and former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has rubbished claims that fugitive Edward Snowden could be considered a 'patriot' or a 'hero.'
"When you sign on working for an intelligence agency to protect your state's secrets and you divulge them as recklessly as he has, I don't call that patriotic," Huntsman told CNBC on Asia Squawk Box on Monday.
Snowden, who previously worked for the U.S. National Security Agency, fled U.S. soil last month after leaking top-secret details of U.S. surveillance programs and has been charged with espionage.
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He is currently residing in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where he submitted a number of asylum applications. He has since been offered asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
Many observers view the whistleblower as a hero and a champion of the freedom of speech, while others see him as a traitor.
"When you compromise a lot of information that many brave men and women have spent a lot of time over the years building... to have signed on and promised to protect them, I don't see that as heroic," added Huntsman.
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The situation has increased tensions between the U.S. government and China.
Snowden had first fled to Hong Kong, where authorities refused to agree to a request by Washington to arrest the fugitive and hand him over to the United States.