Senior Republican says U.S. must step up efforts to get Snowden

WASHINGTON Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:12pm EDT

A television screens the image of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin at a cafe at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

A television screens the image of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin at a cafe at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key congressional Republican said on Sunday that the Obama administration must step up efforts and exert "any and all pressure" on Russia to get it to hand over Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor turned fugitive leaker.

"I'm sure Russia loves this," Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said of the Snowden drama that has opened the United States to international criticism.

McCaul told "Fox News Sunday" that the Russians are "making a mockery" of U.S. foreign policy, and, "I'm sure every day, they're extracting more and more information from this man."

Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, released previously secret documents revealing details of U.S. telephone and internet surveillance programs as part of counterterrorism efforts.

He has been stranded at a Moscow airport since late last month. He broke three weeks of silence on Friday and said he wanted asylum in Russia until he can go to Latin America.

Washington has asked Moscow to return Snowden to the United States where he is wanted on espionage charges but has not been able to get him.

McCaul described the showdown as "a test of our foreign policy," and, he said, "I would give the administration low marks for what they've done so far."

"We should be putting any and all pressure we have - economic, trade," on Russia to get Snowden, McCaul said.

McCaul said that the administration has failed to develop an acceptable relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"It's not working," McCaul said. "They're thumbing their nose at the United States."

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (31)
Bludde wrote:
McCaul is just as clueless as his Senate colleague, McCain

Jul 14, 2013 3:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
I realize that I make myself subject to government scrutiny for making this public expression of my opinion about an elected official over the internet(as protected by the firs amendment of the Bill of Rights), but I would much prefer if our elected leaders were more concerned to protect us from big government than from what Russia may get from Snowden. We just celebrated a holiday that commemorated a generation that risked and lost their lives and fortunes for personal liberty and freedom from oppressive government. These great founders would turn in their graves to think of a weak and supine population that lets its government intrude into the very fabric of their lives under the premise of “protecting” them. I gather that Congressman McCaul opposes “big government” only when it takes his money in taxes, not when it takes the precious privacy of its citizens. We do not deserve the Constitution that our founders left us because we, unlike them, will risk nothing to defend it. (It’s incredible that I should have to assume that, as the result of writing this, I can expect to be scrutinized by the NSA or other agencies, as if this were Iran or China. But this is apparently the case. The purpose can only be to make people cautious of public expressions of their opinions, and therefore to undermine democracy at the most basic level.)

Jul 14, 2013 3:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Speaker2 wrote:
I would give the Republican Party failing grades for coming up with the Patriot Act in the first place. For a group of guys who claim to want a small government and for government not to intrude, they sure came with a bad solution. Liberty and freedom is more important that than safety or even national security. You should be repealing the Patriot Act, not embracing it.

Representative Michael McCaul is a classic example of the stupid right, hard to believe these guys get elected. If there is a traitor, its the Republican Party.

Jul 14, 2013 3:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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