July 7th, 2013
05:29 PM ET
10 years ago

Lawmakers: Asylum for Snowden is an affront to U.S.

(CNN) – Any country that offers asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden pits itself against the United States, lawmakers from both parties agreed on Sunday.

Venezuela and Bolivia have extended asylum to Snowden, and Nicaragua has said it would consider it.

"It's very clear that any of these countries that accept Snowden and offer him political asylum is taking a step against the United States. It's making a very clear statement. I'm not surprised by the countries that are offering him asylum; they like sticking it to the United States," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, said on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee suggested serious trade and policy implications for countries that accept Snowden.

"Clearly any such acceptance of Snowden to any country, any of these three or any other, is going to put them directly against the United States, and they need to know that," Menendez said.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee agreed with Menendez, and he called for action from the United States.

"We shouldn't just allow this to happen and shrug it off. This is serious business. Those Latin American companies enjoy certain trade benefits with the United States. We ought to look at all of that to send a very clear message that we won't put up with this kind of behavior," the Michigan Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday on "The State of the Union."

Rogers said the countries willing to accept Snowden are using the former intelligence worker as a "public relations tool."

As Russian officials say Snowden remains in Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, Sen. John McCain said President Vladimir Putin's unwillingness to turn over Snowden indicates the leader's dim view of the United States.

"It's clear what he is, is an old KGB colonel, and he's not interested in better relations with the United States. If he was, he would make sure that Mr. Snowden was sent back to us. We've got to have a much more realistic approach to Russia and Putin in order to comport with the realities of their relations with us," the Arizona Republican said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

While Venezuela has extended an offer for asylum, they are still waiting to see whether he accepts its offer, Foreign Affairs Minister Elias Jaua told state television Saturday.

Bill Richardson, former Democratic governor of New Mexico, said he doesn't understand Venezuela's offer of asylum considering the country's change in attitude toward the U.S. since the presidential elections earlier this year after the death of former President Hugo Chavez.

"What I don't understand: I was at the Venezuelan elections, and they want to improve the new, post-Chavez government, the relationship with the U.S. and they said that to me. I was an election observer - they have said that to the administration and now they say they are ready to take Snowden," the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on CNN's "Newsroom."

"I hope Venezuela reverses itself. With Bolivia and Nicaragua, it's less so, but I think the U.S. has to pursue our interests and what Snowden did was unacceptable. You can't just decide you unilaterally to leak things. It's not loyalty to the United States," he added.

Snowden has revealed himself as the source of documents outlining a massive effort by the U.S. National Security Agency to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of almost all Americans.

CNN's Mariano Castillo contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2013 • Bill Richardson • Bob Menendez • John McCain • Mike Rogers
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Most intelligent countries know now that snowden is nothing more than a cheap $ rostitute – willing to give anything away AGAINST anyone who will take it just so he doesn't have to work for a living. snowden's time in the limelight is fading away fast and it's just a matter of time, before he takes his own rotten life out of guilt, fear and desperation. Short of that, or his willingness to return to the U.S., nothing else about this creep is even newsworthy.

    July 7, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Michael Benjamin

    The affront is the useless Congress. Their sole function seems to be getting re-elected and writing laws that protect the 1%. It doesn't matter, Democrat or Republican, they all prostrate themselves before the rich and powerful who are the real force in the USA.

    July 7, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. The Elephant In The Room

    A ususlly "dumb" female I know asked a very intriguing question which theoreticallyy I couldn't answer. If Snowden isn't in Russia, why don't we send US Marshalls to arrest him? Russian authorities should have no jurisdiction to protect him from arrest. Once arrested, this American [without a passport] would "pass through Russia" [the other part of the airport] on his way to the US. As both an American in custody of Federal law enforcement and one WITHOUT a passport, wouldn't the Russians be bound by international law to not interfere and to return him to the US? Great question from this girl.

    July 7, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Ed1

    Bring him home and throw him in jail where he will never get out even that would be to good for the traitor.

    This traitor will if not already cost American lives and even jail would be to good for him.

    July 7, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Keegan Nunley

    Something to remember, you cant get along with everyone, or make everyone happy. Not everyone is going to be our friends. We need to be competent enough to avoid letting our situations fall into hands that don't like us. A lot of these countries don't like us because of our behavior towards them in the past.

    July 7, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. sonkarlay

    United states need to show those countries that willing to take him have a problem with the us

    July 7, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. S. B. Stein

    I would like to know who this guy went to before the press. He should have gone to Congress and said this isn't justified.

    July 7, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Mike

    While we can all agree that Mr. Snowden has broken the law by collecting and releasing the information he has so far, I think it's a mistake to stop our evaluation of his actions there. We have to look at what he's released, what those sources say about the current state of affairs at the NSA, and why it was that he felt that these documents should have been released in the first place. If we are to take Mr. Snowden at his word, he believes that the we the people need to know about the information leaked; knowledge which is valuable to us who have a duty to be an informed citizenry. It is a very American value to be skeptical of government action. But, of course, we can only be skeptical of those actions we know about.

    July 7, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. boungiorno

    i think that the way civilization has succeeded through the ages is because traumatic times brings the human nature outside of oneself to help ones neighbor in need and SNOWDEN DID THAT FOR ALL OF MANKIND NO MATTER HOW WE CUT IT!

    July 7, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. Ed

    The only effront to the United States is the "administration" Snowden blew the whistle on – face it people, it's there.

    July 7, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. Platypus

    Citizens: Lawmakers' refusal to reign in executive power is an affront to U.S.

    July 7, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. Dan Freysinger

    a massive effort by the U.S. National Security Agency to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of almost all Americans

    It's not loyalty to the United States

    July 8, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. art

    Funny John McCain, Mendez, Feinstein and many other elected officials are not telling the American people the truth...they are just ignoring the facts of what Snowden said and BS about racing trials in the US and affront. How about JohnMcCain face trials for turning over secrets to the USSR when he was a POW in Nam, how about that. Our elected politicians HAS NO MORALS!

    July 8, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  14. ddavid

    I'd like to hear which is more loyal ? Being loyal to the US Government or being loyal to the US Constitution ?
    Let us make a hypothesis, if a Russian Spy were seeking asylum in the US for revealing a plan which would harm the US, would the US return him to Russia ? NO, we would give him asylum, as we did to the Cartoonist which IRAN demanded back. I guess the whole issue here is who will benefit, rather than seeking out the mores of justice.

    July 8, 2013 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  15. Name king

    History will show how these repubs have used the super majority in congress to severely weaken this president allowing countries to desrespect our country.

    July 8, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  16. Anonymous

    That no one wants to leave comments may SADLY indicate loss of confidence in our 1st amendment because of govt nullification of amendments 4, 5, 6,8. why isn't he PROTECTED under the Whistle Blower Act?

    July 8, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |