• With: Bret Stephens, Kim Strassel, Dan Henninger, Collin Levy, Jason Riley

    This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," June 28, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the NSA leaker still on the run while the Obama administration faces another setback as Russia refuses to return Edward Snowden. How should the U.S. respond to this latest diplomatic embarrassment?

    Plus, landmark rulings from the Supreme Court on voting rights, racial preferences and more. We'll break down what the high court's decisions means for race in America.

    And a key Senate vote puts immigration reform in the hands of the House. Now it faces an uphill battle. Will lawmakers get onboard with the overhaul?

    Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    The hunt for NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, straining already tense diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia. Snowden apparently still in a Moscow airport while President Obama says he shouldn't have to call Vladimir Putin to get him back.


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm not going to have one case of a suspect who we are 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 so that he can face the justice system here in the United States.


    GIGOT: How will this affect the administration and the United States' influence abroad?

    Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; foreign affairs columnist, Bret Stephens; Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.

    So, Bret, the president says that, hey, it's just a 29-year-old hacker, I shouldn't have to scramble the jets, as he put it --



    GIGOT: -- to get him back.

    STEPHENS: The head of his National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, says that Snowden has done irreparable damage to American security.

    GIGOT: He's not only one. Others have, too.

    Which is it?

    STEPHENS: I would -- I would trust General Alexander. He is the guy that knows what sort of secrets Snowden had in his possession and the sort of secrets the Chinese and Hong Kong or the Russians at the airport in Moscow could easily have downloaded.


    GIGOT: Almost certainly download, don't you think?

    STEPHENS: Almost certainly. This is what these guys do for a living. Oh, we would like to borrow your computer for a brief inspection. We will give it back to you tomorrow, that kind of thing.

    This is a major breach of American security, whether Snowden meant to hand over these documents, inadvertently or advertently. The Russians and Chinese now have access to the National Security Agency in a way they didn't have before. And terrorists can begin to understand already how it is that we go -- we look at patterns of communications to see how they may or may not be speaking. So for the president to say this is not a big deal is a big deal.

    GIGOT: Kim, why is -- would the president politically downplay this when Justice Department is -- brought charge against Snowden?

    KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Well, I think it goes to that question you had in the opening, Paul, was American influence. I think the president is worried their influence is such that they may not be able to get Snowden back. And so, if they turn this into a very high-profile issue and lose, then they look back.

    I think there's also, Paul, an element of incompetence, too. There's been a strong tendency to rely on very legalistic means of doing this --

    GIGOT: Of trying to get him back, yeah.

    STRASSEL: Of filing the right papers. Yes. And the president hinted, we've done all this, this should be routine. It's not routine. And this president seems -- seems not to understand that you do have to pick up the phone on things like this. You have to exert pressure because just going through the motions is not going to get you what you want.

    DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Can I just reemphasize what Kim said?

    GIGOT: Yeah.

    HENNINGER: That statement we listened from Barack Obama was unpresidential. I cannot imagine George Bush or Bill Clinton would just go out and say, I'm not going to deal with some guy because it is not the president's job to say that in public. And that sort of unpresidential behavior is watched closely by leaders all over the world. And if they see, as Kim is suggesting, that he's not up to the job, it gives them an incentive to move forward and take risks that we wouldn't want them to be take.

    STEPHENS: This is the Rodney Dangerfield presidency.

    GIGOT: I get no respect.

    STEPHENS: I get no respect. Which is funny, given that this was the president who is supposed to restore respect.

    GIGOT: But the implication with Dangerfield was he deserved respect.


    This president -- your point is he does not deserve respect because he does not seek it.

    STEPHENS: Also because there are no consequences to confronting the United States, with challenging the United States. You know, in India, John Kerry said there would be consequences -- he didn't specify what they would be -- for the Russians for the Chinese. The president is dialing even that back. He should be on the phone talking to his good friend, Vladimir, and saying, look, you and your billionaire friends want visas to the United States, access to the West, if you don't hand over Snowden quickly, there will be restrictions on that.