Two top senators called Sunday for the U.S. to get tough with countries positioned to help NSA leaker Edward Snowden, with Sen. Chuck Schumer saying the U.S. should cut off business visas to Ecuador if that country offers him asylum.
Sens. Schumer, D-N.Y., and John McCain, R-Ariz., had tough words for both Russia and Ecuador. The latter is considering Snowden’s bid for asylum, though may not issue a decision for weeks. Russia, meanwhile, has declined to intervene despite Snowden spending the past week in a Moscow airport.
On Ecuador, Schumer told “Fox News Sunday” that the U.S. should cut off millions in foreign aid to the country and suspend favorable trade status, something Ecuador has suggested doing anyway. But he also said the U.S. could exert leverage by ending the 85,000 business visas between the two countries. “Cut them off,” he said.
McCain said the U.S. also has to ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This is a direct slap in the face to the United States of America,” he said of Putin’s refusal to intervene in the Snowden case.
Schumer agreed, saying, “they always are putting their finger in our eye.”
President Obama said Thursday that he shouldn’t have to get personally involved in “wheeling and dealing” with other nations over Snowden, suggesting it should be a routine legal matter for him to be turned over.
But as the stalemate dragged on, Vice President Biden on Friday called Ecuador President Rafael Correa to urge him to reject Snowden’s asylum request.