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.”
“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.”
“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.