It's Naive Of America To Demand Russia Extradite Snowden

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The White House and State Department continue to publicly demand the Kremlin arrest and extradite Edward Snowden, the 30-year-old government contractor

who leaked secrets from the National Security Agency.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it would be “deeply troubling” for the Russians to allow Snowden to travel freely from Moscow.

“It is accurate there is not an extradition treaty between Russia and the United States, but there are standards of behaviour between sovereign nations,” Kerry said.

But if the roles were reversed, there’s no way the U.S. would adhere to that standard of behaviour, according to a prominent expert on U.S.-Russian relations.

“Imagine there is a Russian officer who worked for … ¬†their intelligence agency, or their equivalent of the National Security Agency, and he came to the United States. Would we arrest and return him? Not a chance in Hell,” Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told Business Insider.

Pifer, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine from 1998-2000, said that it was a waste of diplomatic capital for the U.S. to repeatedly ask something of the Russians that simply isn’t going to happen.

Officials at the White House and State Department have joined politicians from both parties in trying to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to hand over Snowden.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who sits on the both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, had choice words for Putin.

“…recognising that Putin is exactly what he is: an apparatchik KGB colonel that has no interest in the same values and principles that we hold. And he is acting in a more erratic and anti-Western [manner] all the time,” McCain said.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who is also on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, shared similar thoughts.

“This is a security issue … It is hard to understand Russia’s response,” Cardin said. “We have a very important relationship with Russia … That remains true today, even though we don’t understand why Russia didn’t cooperate with us on a matter of homeland security.”

Putin said yesterday that Snowden was free to travel and that he had violated no laws in Russia. ¬†“Any accusations against Russia are nonsense and rubbish,” Putin said.

Pifer said congressmen like McCain and Cardin are being a little bit hypocritical.

“I looked at congressmen on both sides who were calling on the Russians to return Snowden, and I have to ask myself the question, if at Dulles airport here there was a former Russian intelligence officer, I think many of these same congressmen would be rushing to put through legislation to grant him asylum,” Pifer said.

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