The Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday that they want the Department of State to consider imposing sanctions on any nation willing to assist NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
A hearing held by the 30 member, bi-partisan Senate committee Thursday afternoon in Washington ended with a unanimous decision by way of voice vote to move towards sanctioning countries coming to the aid of the former intelligence analyst.
Snowden, 30, has been charged with espionage and other counts by the United States for leaking classified National Security Agency documents to the media. He has been on the run from authorities for nearly two months and is currently in Moscow awaiting the results of an asylum request filed with Russia’s Federal Migration Service. Should the Kremlin come to Snowden’s aid, however, some lawmakers in the US say the State Department should respond with sanctions.
On Thursday, one of the leaker’s most vocal critics in Congress succeeded in having his colleagues advance a bill that directs the Secretary of State John Kerry “to consult with the appropriate congressional committees on sanction options against any country that provides asylum to Mr. Snowden, including revocation or suspension of trade privileges and preferences.”
The bill’s author, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), told the committee, “I don’t know if he’s going to stay in Russia forever. I don’t know where he’s going to go . . . 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.”
An indictment against Snowden was unsealed last month while he was reportedly in hiding in Hong Kong. Just hours later, Snowden surfaced in Moscow and has since been confined to the transit area of the Sheremetyevo airport...........................