Share

US blows off Latin slam for diverting Bolivian president's jet in Snowden dragnet

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,United States,Edward Snowden,Bolivia

The Obama administration has condemned a surprise rebuke from Latin leaders against European governments, rumored to be acting on U.S. orders, that forced a jet carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to land in Austria and be searched for elusive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Meeting at the Organization of American States in Washington, the Latin officials approved a resolution blasting France, Spain and Italy for blocking the jet from flying through their airspace after leaving Moscow a week ago.

The Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, said he feels "a great indignation and immense solidarity in response to the aggression suffered by a leader of Latin America and the Caribbean. What happened on July 2 cannot be qualified as a commonplace incident. It is a serious offense to a democratic president of this region."

The resolution did not condemn the United States, which many suspect asked France, Spain and Italy for help in finding Snowden. Some reports had erroneously suggested that the former NSA contractor was Morales' jet. A search found nothing.

The OAS demanded more answers to questions about the event. "It is very clear that this is an event that goes beyond the explanations that have been given here," said Insulza. "With all due respect to my European observer friends, with all the affection that we have for them, there is a serious matter here that has not been clarified."

The U.S., a member of the OAS, blasted the resolution and told the organization to butt out. A footnote to the resolution said: "The United States cannot join consensus on this resolution. The relevant facts regarding the incident at issue are unclear and subject to conflicting reports. It is therefore inappropriate for this organization to make statements regarding them at this time. In addition, the question of granting or canceling of overflight or landing permits is a bilateral matter between Bolivia and the countries concerned. It is unhelpful and inappropriate for the OAS to attempt to intervene at this moment."

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.