Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:58 PM

Edward Snowden is still in Moscow, since he did not board the flight to Havana yesterday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Snowden remains in the transit area of Moscow's airport, has violated no Russian laws (which apparently don't forbid leaking highly classified U.S. intelligence information), will not be extradited, and can leave for whatever country he likes.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, came down hard yesterday on Hong Kong, China, Russia, and Ecuador yesterday---the first two, for failing to turn Edward Snowden over. The latter two, for their parts, received a warning regarding offering Snowden asylum. Here's the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times reports on Russia's response (hint: officials are not happy), as does the Washington Post.

Senator Lindsey Graham has sent a letter to the Russian ambassador to the United States demanding that Russia hand Snowden over. Jeremy Herb reports at The Hill on the Senator from South Carolina's letter.

It also came out yesterday, in an interview with a Chinese newspaper, that Snowden took the Booz Allen Hamilton contracting gig for the NSA precisely in order to access sensitive programs. Here's Carlo Munoz at The Hill with details, and the interview in the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, members of Congress are contemplating legislative action in response to the Snowden affair: Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will offer legislation that would sunset certain surveillance programs. It's S. 1215, "A bill to strengthen privacy protections, accountability, and oversight related to domestic surveillance conducted pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978." Here's Pete Kasperowicz's story in The Hill.

Senators Wyden and Udall sent another letter yesterday to the Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, demanding clarification of the NSA's policies in place to protect civil liberties. Here's their letter, and Hill story on it.

The White House may be wishing it had not launched its online petition system: A petition to pardon Snowden has surpassed the 100,000 signatures required to prompt an official response. Jonathan Easley reports at The Hill.

The Senate has invoked cloture on its immigration bill, increasing the likelihood that it will be passed by that chamber. How it will be received in the House is another matter. Ashley Parker reports at the Times.

The Senate is taking up its version of the NDAA as well: the Senate Armed Services Committee approved S. 1197, which includes some interesting GTMO detainee transfer provisions, as Charlie Savage points out in the New York Times.

And while you may have moved on past the Benghazi affair, Congressman Darrell Issa has not. He's subpoenaed four State Department officials to meet with the House Oversight Committee, which he chairs. Here's the list, so says The Hill:

  1. Eric Boswell, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's former assistant secretary and its former principal deputy assistant secretary
  2. Scott Bultrowicz, the director of the Diplomatic Security Service
  3. Elizabeth Dibble, the former principal deputy assistant secretary
  4. Elizabeth Jones, the acting assistant secretary at the Bureau Near Eastern Affairs

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