From such beginnings of governments, what could be expected, but a continual system of war and extortion? ~ Thomas PaineWitnessing Vladamir Putin folding like a cheap tent gives some hint at the kind of pressure the NSA-led US government is putting on anyone who might provide asylum to Edward Snowden.
I assume President Obama has not threatened nuclear war if Russia provides sanctuary to Snowden (I can't think of a lesser threat that would scare him). So that means the NSA must have some pretty powerful info stored in their databases to cower Putin so thoroughly.
In Ecuador it is commonly accepted as true that the US assassinated a beloved former President of their country thirty years ago. If that knowledge was insufficient to scare off current President Rafael Correa, then what threats did Vice-President Biden convey to President Correa that terrifies him so.
The Washington Post of Woodward and Bernstein Watergate fame, the same paper that, with the New York Times, published the Pentagon Papers, has betrayed their heritage by editorializing that government secrets are sacred and that leaks are horrible. The NSA must have some very juicy secrets about the Post publishers.
Diplomatic channels must sound a lot like a back alley in South Chicago during the 1920's. The threats, veiled and otherwise, a going hot and heavy. And make no mistake, the NSA is running this show, not President Obama. Obama is as much a victim here as everyone else.