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Does It Matter Where Edward Snowden Obtained Asylum?

Edward Snowden in Russia
Russia has granted “temporary” asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. According to media reports, this means “Snowden now has legal permission to live — and conceivably even work — anywhere here for as long as a year, safely out of the reach of American prosecutors.” Though some supporters expect him to seek “permanent sanctuary” elsewhere, possibly in Latin America, Snowden now has an international platform to continue defending his actions as a whistleblower exposing wrongdoing by the American government.

The Obama administration, in the person of White House mouthpiece Jay Carney, reacted with fury, denouncing the Russian actions and threatening the cancellation of a summit meeting between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian Federation would take this step,” the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said in Washington. He pointedly added that the administration was evaluating “the utility of having a summit.”

Although Putin himself remained silent on the issue, Russians across the political spectrum seemed to revel in the opportunity to thumb their collective noses at Obama.

Robert Shlegel, a Member of Parliament in the pro-Kremlin majority party, United Russia, noted that the disclosures exposed surveillance efforts against American allies in Europe as well.

“Will Obama cancel meetings with their leaders, too?” he said according to reporting by The New York Times.

Americans were predictably divided on whether or not Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia reduced his credibility as a whistleblower and libertarian hero.

Capitol Hill’s “de facto repeal the Fourth Amendment Caucus” was predictably outraged.

“Today’s action by the Russian government could not be more provocative and is a sign of Vladimir Putin’s clear lack of respect for President Obama,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said according to The Hill.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Putin’s action should be met with "serious repercussions.”

“Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans," McCain also said according to The Hill.

The anti-Fourth Amendment claque in the media, who have argued from the beginning that safety is a greater good than liberty, and that Snowden interfered with the ability of the government to keep us safe by exposing its secrets, so he should be "silenced and punished” also issued the predictable condemnations of the Russian grant of asylum.

Many other critics, such as Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch noted the seeming hypocrisy of Snowden receiving asylum from a country that has recently cracked down on human rights, ‘‘He [Snowden] cannot but be aware of the unprecedented crackdown on human rights that the government has unleashed in the past 15 months,’’ Denber said in an e-mailed comment reported by boston.com.

Part of the Russian calculation may have been that, as NPR reported Mikhail Remizov, head of the Institute of National Strategy (a think tank in Moscow) saying, “providing Snowden with asylum would look good to people in Western Europe, where sympathy for Snowden is strong. That kind of sentiment could make it harder for Putin to give Snowden up.”

So far Snowden’s American supporters have largely remained silent on the issue of whether or not the location of his asylum matters. We’re interested in what you think. Please tell us in the comments below or by voting in today’s poll on our home page if you think it matters where Edward Snowden obtained asylum.

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Snowden

We've been in a contest of some sort with the Soviets for generations. The same for China. Do you think it came as surprised to them that we had cyber capabilities and were looking in? I don't.

If they knew, it seems to me the only people that got a surprise were the US citizens. Is that treasonous? I watched Dick Cheney on Chris Wallace's show explain that Snowden had divulged secrets to our greatest enemies. If that's so, who does Cheney consider the enemy, US citizens?

The last two administrations have paved the way for USA to become another nation led by a dictator elected to the executive branch. Congress is complicit by abdicating it's responsibilities to the Executive branch. Obama, by both EOs and Czars has created an Executive Office that has little to answer, for to either congress or the people.

This is a dangerous set of circumstances. Maybe Obama is a benevolent dictator. Once the power grab is codified by precedent, will the next duly elected President be so benevolent? Will there be another election, or will things get out of hand and Obama be required to rule until time art better. This is not the America described in the US Constitution.

If Snowden put a dent in this process, he is a hero to me. I'd rather take a chance on an airplane ride that was less secure, than have every shred of my digital footprint investigated. If my plane gets hijacked, that's life. I wasn't going to change the course of human history and I know it. If, on the other hand, the activities of every citizen is monitored, watched, investigate, and digitally preserved...that changes history forever.

Snowden

Snowden is nothing more than another media "Diversion" for Obama that allows him to avoid providing Congress and the American people the truth about his failures and administrations scandals.