Tags: schumer | russia | snowden | putin

Schumer: Russia 'Aiding, Abetting' Snowden's Escape

Image: Schumer: Russia 'Aiding, Abetting' Snowden's Escape

Sunday, 23 Jun 2013 12:09 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York on Sunday accused Russia President Vladimir Putin of "aiding and abetting" NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's escape from U.S. law enforcement and called it "infuriating."

"The bottom line is very simple -- allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden," Schumer said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"That's not how allies should treat each other and I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship," Schumer said.

The former NSA intelligence worker fled Hong Kong and landed in Moscow early Sunday to escape extradition on U.S. charges of treason for releasing classified material on President Barack Obama's surveillance program.

The U.S. is expected to ask Russian officials to detain Snowden before he catches another flight to Cuba, but Schumer was not confidant Russia will cooperate.

"The fact they would allow him to land indicates we are not in a phase of cooperation," Schumer said.

Schumer did not say what kind of consequences Putin and Russia would suffer, but mentioned efforts to reduce nuclear arms, economic, political and diplomatic effects.

"We have all kinds of relationships with Russia," Schumer said. "I don't think we can shrug our shoulders and say 'this is how Putin is.'"

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has been supportive of Snowden's intelligence leaks, but warned that cozying up to foreign governments would destroy his reputation as a whistleblower.

"I do think, for Mr. Snowden, if he cozies up to the Russian government, it will be nothing but bad for his name in history," said Paul during his CNN appearance.

"If he goes to an independent third country like Iceland and if he refuses to talk to any sort of formal government about this, I think there's a chance that he'll be seen as an advocate of privacy," Paul said. "If he cozies up to either the Russian government, the Chinese government, or any of these governments that are perceived still as enemies of ours, I think that will be a real problem for him in history."

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