US officials are collectively shaking their fists impotently at the skies, expressing a combination of outrage, disappointment and confusion at Russia’s decision to grant whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum.
The White House insisted that they were baffled by Russia’s decision, while ever-hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) declared the move proof that Putin has no respect for Obama.
Press Secretary Jay Carney expressed particular annoyance that Russia didn’t give him a “heads up” before announcing its decision, and insisted that Snowden isn’t a real whisteblower and therefore asylum shouldn’t really apply to him.
Of course despite the US insistences to the contrary, they have no extradition agreement with Russia, and therefore Russia was not obliged to hand Snowden over at any rate, nor is there anything in international law that would conceivably ban them from giving Snowden asylum just because the Obama Administration has given vague assurances he won’t be tortured.
In practice the US is looking to “retaliate” but their options are limited. Officials are once again suggesting they may not attend a planned summit in Russia to spite Putin, but even a move like this is likely to come off as petty to the international community, many of whom aren’t too keen with the NSA surveillance that Snowden unveiled nor the US reaction to it.