John McCain

John McCain: Russian Asylum for Edward Snowden a "Slap in the Face" to Americans

Senator John McCain certainly has a strong opinion on reports that the Russian government has granted temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

McCain's trying to bring hatin' on Russia back in style, issuing a statement that says, in part, "We cannot allow today's action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions."

Snowden reportedly has been seeking asylum in foreign countries since leaking NSA records that show purported details of mass-surveillance programs.

A transcript from yesterday's press briefing at the State Department shows the United States' opinion on Snowden, from spokeswoman Marie Harf:

"I would reiterate what we've said repeatedly, that Mr. Snowden is not a human rights activist, he's not a dissident, he's been accused of leaking classified information, has been charged with three very serious felony counts, and must be, should be, returned to the United States to face a free and fair trial as soon as possible."
Upon news that Russia has granted Snowden asylum for a year, McCain's certainly not happy about it.

"Russia's action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States," McCain's statement says. "It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin's Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today's action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions."

Of course, hating on Putin never really went out of style in McCain's mind.

Remember, as the old legend goes -- once upon a time, McCain stared deep into Putin's eyes, so deep, that he stared into his soul. Scrawled on the side of that soul, in what may have been spray-painted graffiti, were the letters "K-G-B." Or something like that.

Although McCain's statement might seem tense, and maybe even nuke-tastic, the rest of his statement outlines a course of possible action, which doesn't sound very intense:
"The first thing we should do is significantly expand the Magnitsky Act list to hold accountable the many human violators who are still enjoying a culture of impunity in Russia. We should push for the completion of all phases of our missile defense programs in Europe, and move expeditiously on another round of NATO expansion, including the Republic of Georgia. We should challenge the political convictions and detentions of Russian dissidents such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny. And perhaps most importantly, we should speak out on behalf of the many people in Russia who increasingly are finding the courage to peacefully demand greater freedom, accountability, and rule of law in Russia.

"Today's action by Putin's Russia should finally strip away the illusions that many Americans have had about Russia the past few years. We have long needed to take a more realistic approach to our relations with Russia, and I hope today we finally start."

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.