NSA leaker Edward Snowden called a meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. As Snowden applies for asylum in Russia, Sen. Graham has suggested the U.S. boycott the Winter Olympics. (Human Rights Watch/Tanya Lokshina)
Since National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden fled to Russia, Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. has been at the forefront of conversation to determine how best to get him back.
Now, Graham says that President Obama should consider boycotting the 2014 Russian Olympics if the country gives Snowden asylum.
“I would. I would just send the Russians the most unequivocal signal I could send them,” Graham said.
“It might help, because what they’re doing is outrageous,” he said. “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 has been charged with espionage after leaking information about two NSA programs that collected information about U.S. telephone calls and international Internet usage. He filed a request for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladmir Putin stipulated that Snowden not release any more information as part of the terms of his asylum. Graham is the first to suggest a ban of the Olympics, but other senators have suggested a lighter approach.
“There’s many things we can do, but I think the experience of canceling the Olympics the last time around wasn’t very good,” said Sen. John McCain R-Ariz.
Olympic boycotts were all the rage in the 1976 Montreal Games, the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics and the 1984 Summer Olympics. The 1976 boycott was led by African teams protesting against apartheid in South Africa. The 1980 and 1984 boycotts were a result of Cold War disputes between the United States, the Soviet Union, and their allies.