Appearing on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning, real estate and entertainment mogul Donald Trump called for whistleblower Edward Snowden to be executed for leaking details about mass surveillance program run by the National Security Agency.
"This guy’s a bad guy and, you know, there’s still a thing called execution," Trump said.
Snowden has been charged with espionage by the U.S. government for leaking details of an NSA spying program. Snowden was previously in Hong Kong, and reportedly flew to Moscow, where he missed his scheduled flight to Cuba Monday.
“You know, spies in the old days used to be executed,” Trump said. “This guy is becoming a hero in some circles. Now, I will say, with the passage of time, even people that were sort of liking him and were trying to go on his side are maybe dropping out… We have to get him back and we have to get him back fast. It could take months or it could take years, and that would be pathetic.”
Snowden, aided by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Wikileaks lawyers, has reportedly obtained refugee travel documents from Ecuador following the revocation of his U.S. passport.
The U.S. issued "strong objections" to Snowden's exit from Hong Kong, which could damage U.S.-China relations. The stakeout continues in Russia, where Russian officials said they have no authority to detain Snowden.
Trump said the countries aiding Snowden are unfriendly to freedom, and are likely very happy to hold Snowden for information on the U.S. before helping him along.
U.S. officials have issued warnings to Latin American countries that may harbor Snowden or allow him to travel through on his way to Ecuador or Venezuela.
The international chase frustrates Trump, who said, "You really have to take a strong… You have thousands of people with access to material like this. We’re not gong to have a country any longer."
Assange, speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been hiding for just over one year, made a statement Monday saying Snowden and his Wikileaks staff escort Sarah Harrison are "healthy and safe and in contact with their legal team."