Republicans and Democrats are outraged that Russia has not immediately turned Edward Snowden over to the United States to face charges of espionage and treason.
Arizona Senator John McCain and New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday accused Russian President Putin of using the NSA whistleblower as an excuse to attack the United States. McCain went so far as to insinuate that Putin is trying to rekindle the Cold War.
“I think we pushed the reset back down to about 1955. And so we have to deal realistically with an autocratic ruler of Russia who continues to repress people,” McCain told Fox News on Sunday.
“They thumb our nose at us no matter what the issue is, and we should deal realistically, not a return of the Cold War, but realistically with Vladimir Putin,” he added.
“They should pay a price, either diplomatic, economic, geopolitical, for doing what they did. They’re always putting their finger in our eye,” said Schumer. He said the United States should impose sanctions on Ecuador, although Snowden has yet to take refuge in the South American country.
Rand Paul, the Senator from Kentucky, is one of a small number of people in government defending the former Booz Allen Hamilton analyst.
“They’re going to contrast the behavior of James Clapper, our national intelligence director, with Edward Snowden,” said Paul. “Mr. Clapper lied in Congress in defiance of the law in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy.”
“Everybody is worried about him and what they’re going to do and how they will convict him of treason and how they’re going to kill him, but what about the people who destroy our Constitution?” Ron Paul said last month. “What kind of penalty are those individuals who take the Second or the Fourth amendment and destroy it? What do we think about people who assassinate American citizens without trials and assume that’s the law of the land? That’s where our problem is.”
“I’m worried about somebody in our government who might kill him, with a cruise missile or a drone missile,” the elder Paul said.
Vice president Joe Biden intervened directly in the case when he called Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa to urge him to turn down Snowden’s asylum request. Correa told Biden Ecuador will not consider the asylum request until Snowden is on Ecuadorean soil.
Snowden is allegedly holed up at Moscow’s international airport.
“The moment that he arrives, if he arrives, the first thing is we’ll ask the opinion of the United States, as we did in the Assange case with England,” Correa said. “But the decision is ours to make.”
In August, 2012, Ecuador gave asylum to Wikileaks founder and activist Julian Assange. Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, said he was concerned Assange might be extradited to the United States and face execution or indefinite detainment.
Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said that if he leaves the embassy he will be arrested.
Republican Sarah Palin has called for Assange to be “hunted down” while Mike Huckabee has called for his assassination. “Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty,” said the former presidential candidate.
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