What does Leno have that Putin ain't got?
Though Obama took time out of his schedule to speak with Tonight Show host Jay Leno on Tuesday, including answering questions regarding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and ongoing disputes with Russia on that issue, the Associated Press is reporting Wednesday morning that Obama has decided to cancel upcoming one-on-one talks with President Vladimir Putin in protest of Snowden's newly acquired asylum status in Russia.
In a rare diplomatic rebuke, President Barack Obama on Wednesday canceled his Moscow summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The decision reflected both U.S. anger over Russia's harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow's stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights.
Obama will still attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but a top White House official said the president had no plans to hold one-on-one talks with Putin while there. Instead of visiting Putin in Moscow, the president will add a stop in Sweden to his early September travel itinerary.
In exchange on Leno last night, Obama was asked about the case:
LENO: Let me ask you about this — the NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Some call him a whistleblower. What do you call him?
OBAMA: Well, we don’t know yet exactly what he did, other than what he’s said on the Internet, and it’s important for me not to prejudge something.
LENO: Got you.
OBAMA: Hopefully, at some point he’ll go to trial and he will have a lawyer and due process, and we can make those decisions.
I can tell you that there are ways, if you think that the government is abusing a program, of coming forward. In fact, I, through executive order, signed whistleblower protection for intelligence officers or people who are involved in the intelligence industry. So you don’t have to break the law. You don’t have to divulge information that could compromise American security. You can come forward, come to the appropriate individuals and say, look, I’ve got a problem with what’s going on here, I’m not sure whether it’s being done properly.
If, in fact, the allegations are true, then he didn’t do that. And that is a huge problem because a lot of what we do depends on terrorists’ networks not knowing that, in fact, we may be able to access their information.
In response to the news, journalist Glenn Greenwald took the time to point out the numerous instances in recent years in which the US government has refused to extradite individuals on American soil wanted by other nations. As a way to jibe at the poverty of most US media coverage of the Obama/Putin imbroglio, Greenwald predicted that most corporate and mainstream outlets would likely not invoke these examples in their reporting on the extradition battle over Snowden.
Here's video of Leno asking Obama about Snowden and his relations with Russia's Putin: