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Special Report

All-Star Panel: Debate over president's approach to finding Edward Snowden

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Senator Feinstein continuing there, saying the chase is on. Today, in Africa President Obama was pretty dismissive of the chase for Edward Snowden. We're back with the panel. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: So he doesn't speak to the head of Russia and China because he doesn't have to. It's beneath him, you see. The mere, sheer radiance of Obama ought to be enough to persuade them to turn over Snowden, and that apparently hasn't worked yet.

I mean, the arrogance that he's of such Olympian stature that he leaves it, and then he pretends that it's just a 29-year-old hacker when, as you showed earlier in the show, the secretary of state said that this could cost lives, and the head of the NSA had said it's extremely damaging. So, I mean, obviously he's trying to save face, but it's making worse.

And then at the end, he says the other reason I didn't is because I don't want to make this important enough that springing him becomes an issue on which I have to wheel and deal with the Russians and the Chinese. Well, has Obama ever been accused of wheeling and dealing successfully with anyone? How has the wheeling and dealing over the reset gone, over Syria and Iran, other issues? He says he doesn't want to be over-taxed. He has other stuff to do as he tours Africa.

BAIER: A.B., he did say I've got to -- I don't want to start wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited so that he can face justice. There are a lot of people talking about that guy being a real obvious threat and that he's releasing every day more.

STODDARD: Well, his exact words are a concession that he doesn't have anything to wheel and deal over, that he – that he's admitting defeat, that he's not getting on the phone with them because they have basically given him a diplomatic slap in the face. Not a lot of face to save.

I don't know why he's talking in public the way he would speak to his wife at the dinner table. It was very un-presidential, very flip response about a serious matter. It is by no means a routine law enforcement issue.  And it is obvious, though I do think that the transit area of a Moscow airport is indeed a fitting purgatory.

(CROSSTALK)

BAIER: That it is.

STODDARD: I think that President Obama obviously wants him extradited. That has been made clear by his entire administration. And he's trying to pretend that that's not the case.

BAIER: The Moscow airport is not exactly that movie with Tom Hanks where he's caught in the airport forever.

STODDARD: But he's living in a lounge (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

BAIER: Judge, you know, he is Edward Snowden, apparently still there, and he does not have a U.S. passport, and the Russians are not giving him back to us.

NAPOLITANO: This is obviously very political. I myself in my prior life signed many extradition orders. You do not strain over whether the middle initial is correct, which what the Hong Kong authorities claimed was the reason they didn't extradite him from the Hong Kong. When it is clear to you by a preponderance of the evidence, more likely than not, this is the guy the other authority wants, you at least detain him until the middle initial can be resolved.  So both China and Russia are happy to embarrass the president and embarrass the United States and play games here.

Now, why is the administration speaking out of both sides of its mouth? Why is Dianne Feinstein, who is the chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Committee, knows a lot more than any of us about what's going on, John Kerry, who's the secretary of state, scaring the daylights out of us, and the president's making it sound like this is a bank robber who ran from New Jersey to New York and he's not going to get involved.

BAIER: So what happens?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I don't think they want to try him. If they put him on trial, it will be an espionage trial the likes we haven't seen since the Rosenbergs, because in order to prove their case they're going to have to reveal under oath and to the world what they were doing. I think they want to do something other than that. They want to scare him away, they want to silence him. They want him to go away and I don't think they've decided what that is. I think the president was not happy with Senator Feinstein and Secretary of State Kerry, or he may not have even known about it, before he made these rather flip and un-presidential comments in Africa.

BAIER: Last words, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Even as we speak and the president pretends it's just, as you say, a bank robbery case, they are scooping up every iota of information in his computers, a lot of stuff that we don't even know about now and that could be extremely damaging. It is not a routine case.

BAIER: And the head of the NSA has acknowledged that they don't know how much he has.

KRAUTHAMMER: And the Chinese already have it.

BAIER: Stay tuned for a final thought from the panel on a big day in the Senate.

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