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As the international manhunt for Edward Snowden continues to unfold like a social-media-fueled spy novel—ping-ponging from Hong Kong to Moscow and, perhaps soon, Havana, Caracas and Quito—angry U.S. officials in Washington appeared on the Sunday morning talk-show circuit to talk about the accused National Security Agency leaker-turned-asylum-seeking fugitive.
“I believe he hurt our nation," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "He compromised our national security program. The freedom trail is not exactly China-Russia-Cuba-Venezuela, so I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the Earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there’ll be consequences if they harbor this guy.”
“If they want to be part of the world community," Graham added, "want a good relationship with the United States, they should hold this fellow and send him back home for justice."
According to Russian news agencies, Snowden landed in Moscow on a flight from Hong Kong, where he was met by officials from the Ecuadoran embassy. Snowden, who is reportedly staying at an airport hotel, is said to be en route to Ecuador via Cuba and Venezuela.
WikiLeaks, which has been assisting Snowden since he blew the whistle on NSA's surveillance program, said that the former government contractor is "being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from WikiLeaks." Ricardo Patiño Aroca, Ecuador's foreign minister, confirmed on Twitter that the government theree had indeed "received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden."
— Joanna Ruck (@joannaruck) June 23, 2013
“Mr. Snowden is delusional,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said. “If he thinks that he’s going to find a country with a better human rights record in Moscow or in Havana or in Caracas, and I think he’s in for a rude awakening if that’s what he’s got in mind.”
"Every one of those nations is hostile to the United States," Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "When you think about what he says he wants and what his actions are, it defies logic."
The Obama administration, Rogers said, "should use every legal avenue we have to bring him back to the United States."
And if Snowden "really believes he did something good," Rogers added, "he should get on a plane, come back, and face the consequences of his actions."
"If he cozies up to either the Russian government, the Chinese government, or any of these governments that are perceived still as enemies of ours," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said on CNN, "I think that that will be a real problem for him in history."
On CNN's "State of the Union," New York Sen. Charles Schumer placed some of the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Putin always seems almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States—whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden," Schumer said. "Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways."
New York Rep. Peter King agreed, suggesting the United States put diplomatic sanctions on Putin. "We need to keep the pressure on Russia," King said. "We can't let this happen."
“I think it is important for the American people to realize that this guy is a traitor, a defector," King said earlier on Fox News. “He’s not a hero."
On CBS' "Face The Nation," California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said, "I think we need to know exactly what he has. He could have a lot, lot more that may really put people in jeopardy."
On ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander said Snowden's leak had done “irreversible and significant damage.”
“It’s clearly an individual who has betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him,” Alexander said. “This is an individual who is not acting, in my opinion, with noble intent.”