The Washington Post reports that President Obama lost track of alleged NSA leaker Edward Snowden by relying on attorneys at the DOJ instead of using diplomacy with China and Hong Kong.
By the time Obama decided to take advantage of diplomatic channels, Snowden was already on a plane for Moscow.
The WAPO describes this as “a political and public relations debacle,” one that puts the Obama administration in a position where they now have to rely on China or Russia for help.
Yet, Obama is standing his ground. On June 27, he defended his reliance on attorneys when a reporter asked if he had called the Chinese President yet:
I shouldn’t have to… I’m not going to have one case of suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited.
According to the Washington Post, DOJ attorneys have been in charge to such a degree that as recently as June 24 Obama was directing questions on Snowden to the DOJ.
It appears the DOJ’s plan failed. They filed criminal charges against Snowden on June 14 so they could use those charges in working out an extradition request with Hong Kong. However, they sealed the charges because they feared Snowden would flee if he learned of them. By sealing the charges, Snowden’s passport remained viable.
In effect, this preserved Snowden’s ability to flee instead of diminishing it.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.