Russia rejects Snowden extradition demand, blasts US rhetoric

posted at 8:41 am on June 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when the Obama administration sent a reset button to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as a way to thumb their noses at the outgoing Bush administration and blame them for poor relations with Moscow?  Good times, good times.  Lavrov delivered yet another lesson on the dangers of naiveté, this time bluntly rejecting the extradition demand from the White House over Edward Snowden, as well as a verbal dressing-down over the conduct of American diplomacy in the affair:

Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday bluntly rejected U.S. demands to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who has apparently stopped in Moscow while trying to evade U.S. justice, saying that Snowden hasn’t crossed the Russian border.

Sergey Lavrov insisted that Russia has nothing to do with him or his travel plans. Lavrov wouldn’t say where Snowden is, but he angrily lashed out at the U.S. for demanding his extradition and warnings of negative consequences if Moscow fails to comply.

“We consider the attempts to accuse Russia of violation of U.S. laws and even some sort of conspiracy, which on top of all that are accompanied by threats, as absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable,” Lavrov said. “There are no legal grounds for such conduct of U.S. officials, and we proceed from that.” …

Lavrov claimed that the Russian government has only found out about Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong from news reports.

“We have no relation to Mr. Snowden, his relations with the American justice or his travel around the world,” Lavrov said. “He chooses his route himself, and we have learned about it from the media.”

“No legal grounds” refers to the fact that Snowden has apparently not attempted to go through passport control in the Moscow airport.  Officially, he hasn’t entered Russia yet, which is how Lavrov is parrying US pressure, at least for now:

Sergey Lavrov said that Snowden hadn’t crossed the Russian border and insisted that Russia has nothing to do with him, his relations with U.S. justice or his travel plans.

“He chose his itinerary on his own,” Lavrov insisted. “He has not crossed the Russian border.”

The Russians and the Chinese are making fools out of US officials, and don’t think that’s gone unnoticed.  The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker even points out Barack Obama’s golf game as a criticism in the disjointed response to Snowden’s flight:

It was bright and sunny in Washington on Saturday as President Obama stepped out of the White House in flip-flops and khaki shorts to hit the golf course with his buddies.

At the same time, officials throughout his administration were scrambling to keep one of America’s most-wanted fugitives from evading extradition in Hong Kong.

The juxtaposition illustrates the hands-off approach Obama has taken — in public, at least — to the government’s efforts to bring Edward Snowden, the 30-year-old former contractor who exposed classified details of U.S. surveillance programs, back to the United States to face charges of revealing government secrets.

Conservatives say Obama’s posture in the case provides further evidence of a commander in chief whose credibility abroad has declined and who shrinks from presidential leadership at moments of international crisis, including in response to last fall’s attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

“Nobody’s afraid of this guy,” said former George W. Bush administration adviser Eliot A. Cohen, who argues that Obama should have personally stood up to Chinese and Russian officials. “Nobody’s saying there are any real consequences that would come from crossing him — and that’s an awful position for the president of the United States to be in.”

Obama’s defenders say that it might have been even worse had the President put himself personally in the middle of this, only to end up empty-handed.  That’s probably true, assuming that such an effort would have failed. But the juxtaposition of the disarray that allowed Hong Kong to let Snowden slip out of the country and the optics of the flip-flop-wearing Golfer in Chief only underscores the Keystone Kops quality of both the internal security issues and the failed diplomacy that followed.

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Obama’s defenders say that it might have been even worse had the President put himself personally in the middle of this

Russian mockery clearly demonstrates they consider the Obamateur “personally in the middle of this” already.

Russians joined Jon Stewart in aping Obama’s rhetoric for Western audiences;

“;we have learned about it from the media.”

Vaguely familiar?

Terp Mole on June 25, 2013 at 10:10 AM

JetBoy on June 25, 2013 at 10:04 AM

The only downside to that incident, JB is that even thought the soft equipment (like codebooks, notes etc) could be destroyed quickly if done enough time (burning is best or confetti sized shredding) if the hard equipment is only damaged to be nonworking it can still yield a good amount of information on *how* its built…That included the spec on the engines, the electronics…even the survival equipment of the crew.

And remember, the plane was dismantled and shipped back, not flown out…so dont be surprised that they mapped out that plane from tip to tail and back again.

BlaxPac on June 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Remember when Obama promised Putin he would have more flexibility after the election? Putin now has all the flexibility he wants to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Snowden, until Snowden tells him everything he knows. Like maybe the passwords into that huge database in Utah. By the time the Russians are through with him, Snowden will wish he was in Gitmo.

But what ever possessed Snowden to trust the Russians, when he was in Hong Kong and was offered asylum in Iceland?

Exit Poll: Who is more naive, Snowden or Obama?

Steve Z on June 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Russians joined Jon Stewart in aping the Obamateur’s silly rhetoric for Western audiences;

“…we have learned about it from the media.”

Sound vaguely familiar?

Obama is officially an international laughing stock.

Terp Mole on June 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Predictable after Carney’s arrogant, choldish statements.

Shay on June 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Lavrov claimed that the Russian government has only found out about Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong from news reports.

.
Where have I heard this dodge before? Sounds like a Ø administration copout, doesn’t it?

ExpressoBold on June 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Carney’s arrogant, childish statements

Shay on June 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Wasn’t the last president to be such a laughing stock a peanut farmer and democrat? So much for that smart power!

stephana on June 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Russia knows how to play Chess.

Team Obama is still trying to master Go Fish.

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Russians joined Jon Stewart in aping the Obamateur’s silly rhetoric for Western audiences;

“…we have learned about it from the media.”

Terp Mole on June 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Gotta love those Russkies. Great sense of humor.

petefrt on June 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

BlaxPac on June 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Do you really think that, with the Leftists infecting every aspect of this administration, and in every Federal agency, especially the intelligence agencies, that our national security wasn’t already compromised to an extent we will never know?

Cleombrotus on June 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Resist We Much on June 25, 2013 at 9:37 AM

I tip my hat to you.

As I read the list, I could not help but think of The Declaration of Independence and the list of the king’s crimes against the colonies. History does repeat itself.

jazzuscounty on June 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Oh yeah, ORDER a Russkie to do something, that’ll work, Champ.

What a pathetic little man it is.

mojo on June 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Wait a minute, I thought Snowden was a patriot protecting our civil liberties. That what many posters on Snowden have told me. I was also assured that Snowden didn’t know anything by the “keyboard experts.”

Exit Question: What is Snowden telling the Russians about NSA operations?

jerryofva on June 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Has Russia crossed a red line yet? I hear that that’s a really big deal.

Abelard on June 25, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Ooooh! They’d better not do that.

It could unleash the terrible power of an obama SNIT!

Prompting a whine of epic proportions from our glorious whiner-in-chief.

Solaratov on June 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Do you really think that, with the Leftists infecting every aspect of this administration, and in every Federal agency, especially the intelligence agencies, that our national security wasn’t already compromised to an extent we will never know?

Cleombrotus on June 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Of course not. OTOH there ARE still those that are willing to do the Nations interests, in spite of those hindrances.

The true mark of the Republic is that we would (should?) survive even in spite of the useless baggage we’re saddled with.

The country survived FDR, Carter & Clinton…we could survive Obama too, as long as we don’t cut off our nose…etc etc.

The true test would be to force the ELECTED officials to remove or shut down the UNELECTED ones, ie the bureaucrats that are in every department, from Agriculture to Weights n Measures.

SOME are necessary, but some can be removed. That’s where an reasonably educated American public comes in.

Put the country survival first…some threats are more important…and having the Russians or the Chinese in the catbird seat over the US is not a option i look forward to…otherwise, what was the point of fighting OR wining the damn Cold War anyway?

BlaxPac on June 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

sigh. Speaking of Duty…I have to dash for my 90 min. commute to work in my non a/c beatermobile.

Stay strong, Hot Air….and Ed, when is the H.A 2.0 app coming out? lol

BlaxPac on June 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Exit Question: What is Snowden telling the Russians about NSA operations?

jerryofva on June 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I know that I trust Snowden, self-arbiter of what he should release, deeply, the guy who believes grave human rights’ violations are happening at Gitmo, and who understands how Bradley Manning has been unfairly smeared – free Mumia Manning & Snowden!!! :)

Anti-Control on June 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Reagan: Tear down this wall!

after increasing public unrest, East Germany finally opened the Berlin Wall. By the end of the year, official operations to dismantle the wall began. With the collapse of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe and, eventually, the Soviet Union itself, the tearing down of the wall epitomized the collapse for history. In September 1990, Reagan, no longer President, returned to Berlin, where he personally took a few symbolic hammer swings at a remnant of the Berlin Wall.

Obama: Please return Snowden or else…

Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday bluntly rejected U.S. demands to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden

Some times it’s good to compare…

right2bright on June 25, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Okay, one minute here. Just WHAT exactly did this guy “expose” that wasn’t public knowledge to anyone with half a brain?

That we’re being spied on? Old news since the “Patriot” act passed in the wake of panic. That Obumbles McStupid is using the Constitution for TP? Old news since 2008!

MelonCollie on June 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

If it’s “old news that everyone with half a brain knows”…why is he being charged for revealing it?

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Flexibility ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

d1carter on June 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

If it’s “old news that everyone with half a brain knows”…why is he being charged for revealing it?

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Because how he chose to reveal it was grab a fistful of classified government documents and throw them to the wind, so to speak.

Or perhaps a bit more accurately he revealed the explicit details (few if any of which will be worth jack to us but likely quite a bit to criminals and terrorists) when the general idea was already public knowledge.

MelonCollie on June 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

…if you can’t run with the dogs, stay on the porch.

right2bright on June 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

If you’re gonna run with the big dogs, you’ve gotta learn to pee in the tall grass.

Evidently, d’ohbama couldn’t find anyplace to sit while peeing.

Solaratov on June 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Putin better not call prezzy pack my bag for another vacation’s bluff on this. What leverage at this point that can make a difference does Zero have in any foreign matter? He’s screwed himself and all of us with his unqualified appointments and lack of any coherent policies.

Kissmygrits on June 25, 2013 at 11:01 AM

jerryofva on June 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Fair question.

Soviet/Russian anti-SIGINT operations for decades have been keener and better run than HUMINT. They’ve successfully penetrated RAF Chicksands numerous times, directly or with surrogates, and have been pinging on NSA since its inception, successfully a healthy number of times.

They are good at what they do, and have been.

I see Snowden not so much as a SIGINT bonanza for Russia and more as a political bonanza for Russia.

Everything on his laptops is perishable. Sensitive ops can be cancelled or re-routed, re-designated, re-funded and all evidence of their having existed vanishes or is black-taped or put on a fine tuned bigot list if it remains viable.

Problem is, NSA is far far larger today than it was a decade ago. In an operation that large, huge, ginormous…dependence on computers, inter and intranets becomes more essential than the SIGINT product derived.

IT is where you get the best bang for the buck…forget the analysts, or the operators sitting pos. IT. That’s the ticket.

Well, they got one.

But what did they get?

They got a free hammer to beat Team Obama with.

However and whenever they wish.

Obama wants to arm jihadis in Syria…Russia can now say, “Nyet.”

Want to step up arms shipments to an ally? Um, nyet.

Want to expand NATO? Nyet.

And they can do this now, today, because we’ve destroyed our ability to actually be a power-player, and by whom?

Yep, old mom jeans, khakhi shorts-wearing avid golfer, our very own Light Giver…and his team of smart power experts.

I don’t know Snowden…but I’ve worked with some who fit the same mold. How he got to where he is today is not some fluke. It is part and parcel to a major breakdown of the system, where apparently anything goes…all across government…

You know, hiring “consultants” and Beltway bandits is more widespread today than it was during the height of the Cold War and Reagan Administration when the Left shouted from the rooftops that government, especially our intel services were out of control.

Well, today they are out of control.

And who is in charge?

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Sorry for the double half-post. I thought the full post had been ‘eaten’ by the internet ether.

Resist We Much on June 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

That’s all right.

It’s worth reading twice.

Solaratov on June 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM

A lot of these comments from so-called conservative readers are pretty embarrassing. They think this story is about Obama, and they are giddy about the leaking of all this info to our adversaries. Sad to see.

bluegill on June 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

As opposed to you, who believes that the story is about Snowden, and not the NSA.

HarryBackside on June 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

“Nobody’s saying there are any real consequences that would come from crossing him — and that’s an awful position for the president of the United States to be in.”

Socratease on June 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

If Ogabe has to end his Africa junket and return to DC early it could save US taxpayers $50 million or more.

Thanks Vladimir.

viking01 on June 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Snowden embarrassed the country when it needed to be embarrassed. We make a fuss about human rights violations in China and Russia. Meanwhile,

* Our government spies on our own citizens, and uses the information for political purposes (among other things).

* Our government kills US Citizens without due process.

* Our government (IRS) harasses citizens for political purposes.

* Our government tosses people in jail (re: The “video” maker), making them political prisoners in order to protect the people who failed to do their jobs (or worse, were guilty of crimes against our own people).

* Our government redistributes hard-earned taxpayer money to the ruling party’s friends, while punishing its enemies with regulations and false criminal allegations (Gibson, for example).

* Our government routinely covers up corruption (in the Obama admin, start with IG Walpin, and keep going until you run out of space).

* We no longer have free and fair elections where we can trust the results.

The difference between the US and the super powers we criticize is getting smaller every day. And the worst of it all is that it’s intentional.

The Rogue Tomato on June 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Lavrov claimed that the Russian government has only found out about Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong from news reports.

Ooooh, that’s gotta sting Barry.

L O freakin L!

Oxymoron on June 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I don’t know Snowden…but I’ve worked with some who fit the same mold. How he got to where he is today is not some fluke. It is part and parcel to a major breakdown of the system, where apparently anything goes…all across government…
You know, hiring “consultants” and Beltway bandits is more widespread today than it was during the height of the Cold War and Reagan Administration when the Left shouted from the rooftops that government, especially our intel services were out of control.
Well, today they are out of control.
And who is in charge?

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Well put.

Cleombrotus on June 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

It shocking how well the MSM can distract Americans from paying attention to the governments blatant disregard for the constitution and bill of rights.

I am amazed with how well the MSM has been able to turn the American people from outrage over the unlawful domestic spying into anger that the unlawful programs were exposed at all.

Gov:
Don’t pay attention to the lies we told you or our unlawful programs, but pay attention to the guy who leaked old news that was already exposed by 4 previous whistlblowers.

JustTheFacts on June 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

As opposed to you, who believes that the story is about Snowden, and not the NSA.

HarryBackside on June 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

You aren’t saying that Snowden, the type of info he stole, and his motives are an unimportant aspect of this story, are you?

Anti-Control on June 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM

If it’s “old news that everyone with half a brain knows”…why is he being charged for revealing it?

Ask your congressman.

Puma for Life on June 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

In the meantime…Russia is being Russia…and well…

Russia violating the 1987 INF Treaty?

That’s not important?

But, getting Snowden back?

Team Obama has never played chess, have they?

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

If it’s “old news that everyone with half a brain knows”…why is he being charged for revealing it?
Ask your congressman.

Puma for Life on June 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Snowden did not have the declassification authority to essentially “downgrade” and publically release the information… whatever the “information” is, is irrelevant… Simply put, its not his decision and WAY above his pay grade…

Its a “Process Foul”, and he needs to be put on trial for this…

Khun Joe on June 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Hey World and majority of the USA dummies, you wanted obama, you got him.

Snowden might be a lot of things but he will forever be the guy who unmasked obama.

China and Russia understand better than the US majority what an eunuch obama is, and what his real priorities are. They figured him out a long time ago.

It’s very dangerous and sad for the US but also for the free world.

Schadenfreude on June 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

“Conn, Sonar! Crazy Ivan!!!”

even more apt…

“This business will get out of control! It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it!”

freedomfirst on June 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

They are treating us like the decadent, second rate, corrupt, third world mess we are.

IlikedAUH2O on June 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM

They are right. The mask of the sanctimonious USA is finally down.

obama killed the last shred of moral authority and decency of the USA. He meant to. “Transparency” is not what the fools thought it was.

obama has only two objectives:

1. his own aggrandizement, and

2. furthering the muzzie brotherhood.

Schadenfreude on June 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

And if the Russians are building a new class of intermediate range missile…two questions…what is the intended target set and why is Obama so willing to halve our stockpiles before requiring the Russians do likewise?

“Meester Obama, if I may, you vuld like to haf us give you thees Snowden person, of whom we know nothing other than vat we are reading in your press…and you are then makink demand that we stop protecting ourselves from possible Iranian or North Korean attacks on our territory? In response,may I say, as did your very own Meester Farrakhan said so famously, “Meester Obama, who the hell do you think you are?”

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

They think this story is about Obama, and they are giddy about the leaking of all this info to our adversaries. Sad to see.

bluegill on June 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Fishhag, turn on your functiongin brain cells – you certainly are endowed with such, when you choose to think.

It is about obama – he is currently the president. The land is in this weak position because he (inentionally) put it there. Think hard. Amnesty will cap the decline, maliciuosly.

Schadenfreude on June 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Remember when Obama promised Putin he would have more flexibility after the election?
Steve Z on June 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Comes in handy, what with him having to spend so much time grabbing his ankles for Vlad the Impaler.

whatcat on June 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM

The Russians and the Chinese are making fools out of US officials, and don’t think that’s gone unnoticed.

The US officials are making fools of themselves.

FloatingRock on June 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM

They think this story is about Obama, and they are giddy about the leaking of all this info to our adversaries. Sad to see.

bluegill on June 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Bluegill, you will convince more people on this site if you stop erecting straw men and then fiercely set about attacking them. We don’t support Snowden because he’s damaged Obama’s credibility. As Resist We Much points out, we don’t even like Snowden.

If you want to get the story right, start with this: We are worried sick about the surveillance state that seems to have suddenly popped up out of nowhere. We are worried that big government is powerful, malicious and partisan and that it’s growing exponentially.

That’s the argument, not what you said. So address that, not this other straw man you’ve been building.

Now, that said, I agree that a lot of us are “giddy” as you describe it because Obama seems to be suffering political fallout during this process. But that’s a tasty side dish, not the main offering.

Burke on June 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

…if you can’t run with the dogs, stay on the porch.

right2bright on June 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

If you’re gonna run with the big dogs, you’ve gotta learn to pee in the tall grass.

Evidently, d’ohbama couldn’t find anyplace to sit while peeing.

Solaratov on June 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Yeah, like since when knowing how to ‘pee in the tall grass’ was of any help when it comes to the Russians…..it’s not like they give a dead rat on anybody on this planet, and they in fact are the ultimate pissers….whacha gonna do, place sanctions on Russia :), start a nuclear war…sometimes comments here would benefit if people actually bother to show the path towards achieving a stated goal, not just throwing words in te wind…..in this case an imagiary goal evidently, since there’s nothing that anybody can do to rein in the Russians, regardless who’s in power and where. .and pls don’t start Reagan this, Reagan that, it was a hundred years ago, different geopolitics, different stakes, different everything…don’t even bother to go there…

jimver on June 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Why is it that I find myself on the side of the Russians regarding Snowden?

Yeah, I like folks who thumb their noses at Obama.

It’s that GD bad.

Sherman1864 on June 26, 2013 at 2:05 AM

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