McCain Blasts Russia for Giving Snowden Asylum

Image: McCain Blasts Russia for Giving Snowden Asylum

Thursday, 01 Aug 2013 03:29 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Sen. John McCain is outraged at Russia for granting asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to the National Journal
, the Arizona Republican released a statement Thursday morning calling Russia's actions "a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States."

"It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with [President Vladimir] Putin's Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today's action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions," he said, according to the National Journal.

Snowden quietly slipped out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport Thursday after Russia granted him asylum for one year, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.

McCain outlined a number of specific actions America might take, including expanding the Magnitsky Act list "to hold accountable the many human violators who are still enjoying a culture of impunity in Russia."

McCain also suggested pushing for U.S. missile-defense programs in Europe and challenging "political convictions and detentions of Russian dissidents," as well as other human rights measures, the National Journal reported.

Other lawmakers also denounced Russia decision. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, tweeted that the reset in U.S.-Russia relations is more like the "U.S. being run over," while Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said the asylum was a "setback to U.S.-Russia relations."

For his part, Putin has tried to do his own damage control to limit the diplomatic fallout.
He said a condition of Snowden's asylum was that Snowden would have to stop "his work aimed at damaging our U.S. partners." More recently, he said he won't let Snowden harm U.S.-Russia relations.

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