SENATORS URGE OBAMA TO GET TOUGH ON RUSSIA, ECUADOR OVER SNOWDEN

Fox News on June 30, 2013, reported that two top senators has called 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. Excerpts below:

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… 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.

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.

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