McCain, Schumer on Snowden: Russia should pay a price
June 30th, 2013
03:57 PM ET
8 years ago

McCain, Schumer on Snowden: Russia should pay a price

(CNN) – Two high-profile senators on Sunday continued to admonish Russia for not handing over Edward Snowden, the leaker of National Security Agency secrets who's hiding in Russia as he seeks asylum in Ecuador.

Republican Sen. John McCain said Snowden's actions amounted to a "slap in the face to the United States" and called President Vladimir Putin "an old colonel KGB apparatchik" who "dreams of the restoration of the Russian Empire."

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"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 said on "Fox News Sunday."

Europe furious, 'shocked' by report of U.S. spying

"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 also said.

After news that Snowden left Hong Kong for Russia last week, President Barack Obama said Thursday he's "not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."

A top Russian lawmaker said Sunday that Russia must not hand Snowden over to the United States.

"It's not a matter of Snowden's usefulness to Russia, it's a matter of principle," Alexei Pushkov - who heads the international affairs committee at the Duma, the lower house of parliament - said on Twitter. Meanwhile, Putin has said, "The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself."

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday he's not sure what should be done to get Snowden back, but Russia should "pay a price" for "doing what they did."

"(Putin) ought to know he is going to pay a price here because he goes out of his way to stick his finger in the eye of America whether it is Iran, Syria and now this," he said on the same Fox program. "He has got lots of vulnerabilities."

If Ecuador grants asylum to Snowden, Schumer called for the U.S. to cut its trade and foreign aid to the South American country.

"We ought to be very clear with Ecuador that if they take Snowden, they are going to pay a price," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden asked Ecuador "to please reject" the request for asylum, according to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

Filed under: Charles Schumer • John McCain • NSA • Russia
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Babeouf

    Lets see the US is bugging every phone and computer on the continent of Europe. And now it turns out every EU office and various EU governments. I'm one of the many Europeans who would like to congratulate Mr Putin for his decision not to send Snowden back to the Spy and Lie empire.

    June 30, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. rs

    A price for what? Having an international airport with a nice transit lounge for foreigners? For what being a summer transit point when one goes from China to Cuba or Ecuador? If Russian police cannot or will not arrest or detail Snowden for extradition to the U.S., then perhaps Mr. McCain and Mr. Schumer need to off their buts to work out a treaty with their Russian counterparts to make that happen. Snowden isn't the problem now, and he will be arrested and brought to justice at some point. Russia is not the problem, and these chickenhawks need not revive Dr. Strangelove. The bigger issue is the ongoing leakage of information and data via Wikileaks.

    As usual, Republicans missed the point-again.

    June 30, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Thomas

    This is only about face !

    We would do the same thing as China and Russia , it's a game .

    Edward Snowden is already wanting to cut a deal to come home .

    What needs to be addressed is the failure of the security company that gave him clearance . The lucrative deals with out sourcing to contractors .

    June 30, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Evergreen

    Apparently Snowden cant tell Russia or China anything they dont already know. After all the Patroit Act was public knowledge in 2006 and they have been spying us as well. Snowden is like a little boy playing a man's game. He gave up the goods before making a deal. Now no one wants him.

    June 30, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    The attack dogs are loose.

    These guys did far more harm to America, than Snowden, when they voted for the immigration bill, aka the Totalitarian State bill.

    June 30, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Do you want USA to go to war with Russia??? Nonsense. Enough wars–enough looting.

    June 30, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    The USA has probably not been able to claim any moral high-ground since the Korean War. American Exceptional ism is just the new term for the Ugly American which never ceased to exist. Should we be ashamed, you bet. But this has been going on for decades..........even President Obama was (and W definitely wasn't ) not creative enough to invent this. Snowden is a traitor, let him stay in Russia and see how he likes it over the long haul. You can bet the Russians will not forget that he has already sold out one country and will eventually deal with him.

    June 30, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Sounds like a job for Steven Seagal !

    He is the only Ameican hero to get into Putin's Brain !

    June 30, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    Sheesh. Why bother? Let him rot in Russian airports. Maybe he'll expire from eating too many Cinnabons and Burger King.

    We sound as petulant as a hectoring, weak king. Keep your mouths closed, boys, and make deals with Putin to get him back. Everyone saves face, and you can electrocute Snowden to death or cut him with a thousand tiny razors or whatever it is you're going to do. Rar! Anger! Go America!

    June 30, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    The attack dogs are loose.

    These guys did far more harm to America, than Snowden, when they voted for the immigration bill, aka the Totalitarian State bill.

    Rick ,
    dictatorship: a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.).

    I have difficulty understanding your logic 99% of the time.

    The United States of America is in no way a Totalitarian state , nor will it ever be.
    We had a taste under GW Bush , `he was finally rejected and sent back to Texas.

    June 30, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Doc1

    Lets see the US is bugging every phone and computer on the continent of Europe. And now it turns out every EU office and various EU governments. I'm one of the many Europeans who would like to congratulate Mr Putin for his decision not to send Snowden back to the Spy and Lie empire.
    That's fine. Just stay out of my country.

    June 30, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Reyter

    Great idea as long as those two lead the charge. On a brighter note for McCain, he won't have to spend 10years in a hole in the ground because it will be over much quicker. He may have to live out his days in a labor camp but if the Russians keep him there, it can only be good for us.

    June 30, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Donkey Party

    Babeouf – So what you're saying, is that you're a Communist sympathizer. How would your government view you if they knew your allegiance lies with Communists? Also, if you think the EU doesn't spy on the US, then you get a pass for your ignorance, considering your mindset hasn't developed beyond that of a 5yr old.

    June 30, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    First off, yes, Putin is an old KGB apparatchik and yes he does want gather ultimate power for himself. What's your point? Vladimir is having a good ole time tweaking Obama's nose with this, and I suggest he enjoy it while he can. Revenge, as the Kingons have it, is a dish best served cold.

    June 30, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Agnes Maria - Canada

    No one of any reasonable mentality here in North America takes these men seriously. Washington embarrassed the U.S.'s own citizens just as PM Harper embarrasses Canada's. There is no decent understanding of foreign affairs and no strong leadership. The governments in the West are losing command over their nations. Their control is slipping, and not because the East is innocent. They are losing their grip because, unlike the East, they are an inexperienced and unprepared new world with no sense of shared ancient history or identity.

    June 30, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. tominil


    Since when is Sen Schumer a republican?

    June 30, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. truth

    Russia, it is a crossroad now, are you going to choose principle or trade benefit? This is a test of a real power, and its outcome shall define a new order

    June 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. here and back again

    Snowden complained that would not be "free" staying in the US...and yet he can't leave the Russian airport. Bet this isn't playing out the way he thought it would. He has nothing that everyone didn't already know. Well, I take that back...there are plenty of fools here in this country that believe Snowden released some revelation that get this...our country spies on us...duh...

    June 30, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Punish Russia? They are being punished. They have Snowden. Ha, Ha.If Snowden manages to get back to the U.S. we should send him to Gitmo. For you Liberal's, there has been intellegence gathering since Adam and Eve. I think during the Civel War there were Hot Air Ballons used for intellegence. Of course ther isn't much intellegence in the White House at present. but that will change.

    June 30, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  20. Steveo

    Lots of you called McCain a warmonger. So does this mean Schumer is one too? Or does the Dem get a pass?

    June 30, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  21. ali

    McCain and Schumer should be suffering considerable back pain from all the violent posturing they do.

    June 30, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. annieL

    What about jobs for the older unemployed and our younger generation?What about the rich getting richer and the middle class shrinking? What about unaffordable healthcare and unaffordable college degrees? What about climate change? What about illegal immigrants and their employers never being brought to justice? What about women losing reproductive rights in many states? What about the war still going on in Afghanistan and American soldiers dying? What about mass shootings of innocents in our schools and the public square? I am sick of the "scandals" that have little or nothing to do with the daily lives and critical needs of American citizens.

    June 30, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  23. giggig

    snowden has not a valid passport , he needs assylumn somewhere or go to the moscow US emabassy and insist
    on getting a passport ,that's all, its 10 yrs valid. and he can go anywhere he wants.
    He can marry in Sweden , germany, SWITZERLAND , HE CAN GO TO sOUTH aFRICA .....ANYWHERE.

    June 30, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  24. Kevin McCarl

    So, Russia is a child that needs punished. We should spank it until it stops following international law. International law, contrary to what our government is saying, is found in the convention on refugees and in the convention against torture. Each convention entitles a claimant to a full and fair hearing and judicial review. It's something called due process. Once the judicial review is exhausted, a claimant may petition the United Nations Committee Against Torture. This is a long process and the United States should understand that. Even the USA has a system in place for refugee claims, so it could not expel someone if Russia or China asked them to. Therefore, it appears that the United States is simply sabre rattling or, worse, asking a sovereign state to ignore its human rights obligations.

    June 30, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. loosun

    US adversaries like Russia are more than happy to exploit the situation. Espionage is not new and all countries engage in the game. Unfortunately, we have one traitor who was probably paid off by someone. Snowden lost all credibility as he ran to oppressive regimes like Russia who are probably squeezing him for everything he has to offer. Perhaps he should stay there and learn about human rights abuses.

    June 30, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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