First, it was China that gave President Obama a figurative wet noodle when he asked the communist leaders to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to the United States.
Then, it was Russia that responded with an unequivocal “nyet” when Obama wanted President Vladimir Putin to force Snowden, who is holed up in the transit lounge of the international airport in Moscow, to leave.
Finally, there’s Ecuador, where America’s most wanted hopes to live out the rest of his life, that has reacted to Obama’s demand for extradition with a diplomatic broadside: Don’t threaten us.
Bottom line, the leader of the most powerful nation on earth has been snubbed — the way the people of the Mahoning Valley have been snubbed for the past several years by the South American nation of Brazil.
Obama now knows how we feel.
Indeed, there’s poetic justice in what has happened to him, given that he has ignored this region’s numerous appeals for help.
Led by Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, we, the people of the Valley, have asked Obama to put pressure on Brazil to extradite Claudia Hoerig, who has been indicted by a Trumbull County Grand Jury in the murder of her husband, U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Karl Hoerig.
Hoerig, a decorated military veteran, was shot to death in 2007 in his Newton Falls home. His wife fled to her native Brazil before his body was found.
The Brazilian government is protecting her for reasons unknown, even though she has been indicted on a charge of aggravated murder with a gun specification.
It is worth noting that President Obama has not seen fit to rise to the defense of a true American patriot, but is willing to use America’s economic power to punish those countries that don’t cave in to his demand for Snowden’s extradition.
Consider Snowden’s story: He’s a former CIA employee who later was hired as a contractor for the NSA. In that position, he gained access to documents that he gave to the British newspaper The Guardian and the Washington Post to expose what he contends are privacy violations by an authoritarian government. He revealed that the NSA is collecting telephone records of millions of Americans and the Internet records of millions of foreigners. It is all part of America’s war on terrorism.
Snowden also told the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong that “the NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cellphone companies to steal all of your SMS data.” He is believed to have more than 200 additional sensitive documents in laptops he is carrying.
Against that backdrop, it’s plain to see why President Obama is so determined to bring the hacker back to the U.S.
Snowden, whose actions have not resulted in any deaths (unlike accused murderess Claudia Hoerig), has embarrassed the president of the United States. Obama’s credibility has been shot to smithereens. How can he take the moral high ground with leaders around the world when his National Security Agency is accused of not only spying on American citizens, but also on foreign countries?
Taken to the extreme, Obama is willing to declare economic war on any country that does not go along with his extradition demand, and yet he refuses to put pressure on Brazil to hand over an accused killer of a true-blue American.
A presidential order would tear down barriers erected by the Brazilians to keep Hoerig, who renounced her Brazilian citizenship when she took the oath of citizenship in America, from being sent home.
It’s time Obama recognized that the cause of justice is more important than his public humiliation. An Air Force Reserve major who was brutally slain will not rest in peace until his killer is made to pay for the crime.
On the other hand, the president will get over China, Russia and Ecuador refusing to extradite Snowden. This country isn’t without the ability to bring the leaker back home — even if he doesn’t want to come.
Wherever he sleeps at night, Snowden would do well to keep one eye open.
That’s what Claudia Hoerig should also be doing — if only Obama would get involved.