According to a report in a political blog, Sen. Lindsey Graham says President Obama should consider a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia if Edward Snowden is given asylum there.
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In a report from The Hill, Graham said a boycott of the games would send a signal to Russia if they continue to harbor Snowden, who is charged with leaking National Security Agency information. Snowden has spent weeks living in a Moscow airport in an attempt to avoid extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.
“I would. I would just send the Russians the most unequivocal signal I could send them,” Graham (R-SC) reportedly said.
“It might help, because what they’re doing is outrageous. We certainly haven’t reset our relationship with Russia in a positive way. At the end of the day, if they grant this guy asylum, it’s a breach of the rule of law as we know it and is a slap in the face to the United States.”
Snowden reportedly filed an official request for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday, saying he would abide by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demands that he stop leaking information that could damage the United States. He is charged with leaking information about two NSA programs that collected information about US telephone calls and international Internet usage.
The Russian city of Sochi, on the Black Sea coast near the border of Georgia, is hosting the 2014 Winter Games, set to begin Feb. 7.
During the height of the Cold War, the US boycotted the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a response by then-President Jimmy Carter to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviets declined to send athletes to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
According to the report, other lawmakers don’t share Graham’s views on the boycott.
“There’s many things we can do, but I think the experience of canceling the Olympics the last time around wasn’t very good,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), told The Hill.