Sen. Schumer calls for penalties against Ecuador if it helps NSA leaker

Posted at: 06/30/2013 2:25 PM

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Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for stiff penalties against the nation of Ecuador if it offers asylum for NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

During a Sunday morning press conference, Schumer said, “If Ecuador agrees to Edward Snowden’s request for asylum, there will be serious consequences.”

Schumer went on to say, “The U.S. should move forward with suspending the thousands of visas we issue to their businesses each year, and let trade preferences expire should they decide to grant Snowden asylum. Bottom-line, we should not be rewarding the government of a country that harbors fugitives and we must send a clear, firm message to Ecuador that we will not tolerate these actions. I have great respect and admiration for the Ecuadorian people, but believe that the country’s government would be making a big mistake in harboring this man.”

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tells the Associated Press that Snowden is currently in Moscow, under the care of Russian authorities and can't leave the country. Correa also would not guarantee that the country would offer a safe haven for Snowden, but told the AP that they would consider "the broader legitimacy of Snowden's action."

Earlier this month, leaks provided by Snowden were published that showed extensive monitoring by the NSA. Supporters of Snowden say these leaks should be viewed as whistle blowing, while critics have said Snowden's leaks were the equivalent of espionage.

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