Penalties for nations that aid Snowden move forward
WASHINGTON — U.S. sanctions against any country offering asylum to Edward Snowden advanced in Congress on Thursday as the 30-year-old National Security Agency leaker remained in a Moscow airport while Russia weighed a request for him to stay permanently.
The measure introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., demands the State Department coordinate with lawmakers on setting penalties against nations that seek to help Snowden avoid extradition to the United States, where authorities want him prosecuted for revealing details of the government's surveillance system. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the proposal unanimously by voice vote as an amendment to next year's $50.6 billion diplomacy and international aid bill.
“I don't know if he's getting a change of clothes. I don't know if he's going to stay in Russia forever. I don't know where he's going to go,” Graham said. “But I know this: That the right thing to do is to send him back home so he can face charges for the crimes he's allegedly committed.”
Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered Snowden asylum since his arrival at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport a month ago.
Snowden wants permission to stay in Russia, his lawyer said on Wednesday after delivering clothes to his client. It's unclear how long the Kremlin will take to decide on the asylum request.