By Justin Sink - 07/01/13 03:32 PM EDT
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) criticized President Obama's efforts to capture National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying the president is being outmaneuvered by a “KGB thug,” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The way, you know, Putin was conducting himself, he seems to be coming across as a strong man and the president seems to just be flailing out, going from issue to issue, not focusing enough," King told Fox News on Monday.
King said that he hoped "something is going on behind the scenes" in negotiations with the Russians over the fate of Snowden, who has been holed up in the transit area of Moscow airport since leaving Hong Kong last week. Snowden, who is facing espionage charges for leaking classified documents, is seeking asylum in Ecuador.
"I think the president has been missing in action on this," King said.
Obama on Monday said there had been "high level discussions" underway with the Russians to solve the extradition crisis, adding he was "hopeful" the nations would find a resolution.
Reuters reported Monday that Putin warned Snowden that if he wanted to stay in Russia, he must “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners.”
King also suggested Obama should have done a better job explaining the importance of the NSA surveillance programs revealed by Snowden to the American people.
"If he had addressed the American people on the importance for instance of why he believes the NSA program is still important, that’s also sending a message to Russia," King said. "It’s sending a message to other countries that this is in our vital national interest and by going against that, for instance, by not turning Snowden over to us, Russia is going against our vital national interest."