Republican Rep. Peter King turned the tables on CNN attempt to blame Obama for Edward Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong, and instead defended the president while lashing out at Rand Paul.
WHITFIELD: So as pertains to Edward Snowden, is the U.S. really in a hopeless situation, that’s it’s not likely to get any kind of immediate cooperation from Russia in terms of holding Snowden there and not allowing him to get on a plane. The U.S. is not likely to have any leverage as it pertains to Cuba nor to Ecuador?
KING: No. We’re in a very difficult position and it’s ironic because this president came in saying how he would fix the relationship with Russia. He was pressing the reset button and now on such a basic issue as this Russia is saying no. This really involves or requires a direct diplomatic involvement by the U.S. I find it troubling that the president has been so quiet on this.
Again, I’m not saying he should control it. There should be more of a presence including defending the NSA program. It seems as if we’re adrift right now. These countries are taking advantage of it. Once you talk about Venezuela and Cuba, it’s almost hopeless unless we really find ways to lean on them.
I think there are more than 70 fugitives from justice right now in Cuba from the United States. Ecuador has given asylum to Assange so — and Venezuela is obviously a left wing country, anti-U.S. Those three countries really present problems for the U.S. We have to find ways to make it clear that we are going to be able to take action.
WHITFIELD: I wonder, Congressman, as I let you go, what an embarrassment this must be for the president. He just hosted the Chinese leader inside a couple weeks ago and just met with Putin, among other countries during the G8 Summit just last week and then something like this happened involving the two countries that he recently had face time with.
KING: This is definitely a diplomatic hit at the president and the U.S., but as Americans we have to support the president. I wish all Americans including Senator Rand Paul would realize Snowden is no hero. I know on CNN today he compared — Rand Paul compared Snowden to General Clapper. You know, this kind of talk — I don’t know what’s happening to our country that people are making this trader and defector into some kind of hero. At the same time, castigating true American heroes.
Rep. King started to get into criticizing Obama, but when CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield went for the Obama bashing question King responded by saying we are all Americans and we’ve got to support the president. (It was odd to hear a Republican using that line to defend a president that they have spent years demonizing as un-American.) Rep. King is an Islamophobic hardline right winger on terrorism, so it isn’t like he is ever going to be praising Obama, but it speaks volumes about the media that the question was asked.
CNN was trying to make news by fueling the partisan divide. What’s interesting is that her question revealed the deep divide within the Republican Party. King’s response hints that the divides within the GOP go even deeper than could have been previously imagined.
King was right to dismiss the leading question about President Obama. The real story here is the Patriot Act, and how the use of private contractors to do intelligence work allowed someone like Edward Snowden to access to classified information. Without the Patriot Act, and the post-9/11 private intelligence industry boom, Edward Snowden would not have been able to do what he did.
It is deplorable, but expected that the media would try to blame Obama for the actions of Snowden. This was another example of more biased coverage from a supposedly “liberal media” that just can’t hide its desire to exploit the ugly divides in our politics, and find a way to blame Obama.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association