Speaking from Senegal Thursday, President Obama notably downplayed the U.S. effort to apprehend NSA leaker Edward Snowden, remarking, “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.” Shortly after on Fox, The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein was tearing into the president for not taking the situation seriously enough.
Answering host Rick Folbaum‘s question about whether Obama was being “a little bit dismissive” about the whole thing, Weinstein answered, “He certainly was a little glib.” He said that no matter his personal views on Snowden, as president of the Untied States he has no choice but to view his leaks as “intolerable.” To “future Edward Snowdens,” Weinstein said, “you want to convey the sense that this is a very serious matter, that we can’t have people doing this, that we will find you and we will bring you to justice no matter where you are.” And to the countries that could potentially give Snowden asylum, you have to convey “that we expect actions or there will be consequences.” Weinstein said, “with the president’s message we’ve got none of that.”
Folbaum highlighted the “contradiction” in tone between what Obama is saying publicly and what the Justice Department is doing, namely charging Snowden with espionage. Weinstein took that idea one step further, identifying a “contradiction” within President Obama himself.
“He doesn’t want to be seen by his base as the guy who is going after this what a lot of his base see as this whistleblower who uncovered something for the American people,” Weinstein said. “On the other hand he is the president of the United States, you cannot have leakers giving out American secrets and go to China and get away from it.” Weinstein described Obama’s political dilemma as a choice between two options: “cozy up to his base” or “act like the president of the United States and get tough on a guy who just divulged American secrets.”
At the same time, though, Weinstein acknowledged the “dichotomy” on the right on this same issue. “On one hand you have a lot of civil libertarians who see what happened here, what he divulged as very outrageous and needed to be divulged,” he said. “On the other hand you have national security hawks that say he threatened the United States by doing what he did.” According to Weinstein, Snowden is “no longer the hero that some on the civil libertarian right might have thought he was at some point.”
Watch video below, via Fox News:
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