Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A TV screen shows a news report of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
White House urges Moscow to expel Snowden to U.S.

First Published Jun 24 2013 09:56 am • Last Updated Jun 24 2013 01:25 pm

WASHINGTON • The U.S. assumes National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden remains in Russia, and officials are working with Moscow in hopes he will be expelled and returned to America to face criminal charges, President Barack Obama’s spokesman said Monday. He declared that a decision by Hong Kong not to detain Snowden has "unquestionably" hurt relations between the United States and China.

Snowden left Hong Kong, where he has been in hiding, and flew to Moscow but then apparently did not board a plane bound for Cuba as had been expected. His whereabouts were a mystery. The founder of the WikiLeaks secret-spilling organization, Julian Assange, said he wouldn’t go into details about where Snowden was but said he was safe.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador, Iceland and possibly other countries, Assange said.

Obama, asked if he was confident that Russia would expel Snowden, told reporters: "What we know is that we’re following all the appropriate legal channels and working with various other countries to make sure that the rule of law is observed."

Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, earlier Monday said the U.S. was expecting the Russians "to look at the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged."

"The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust," Carney added. "And we think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback. If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition obligations, then there is a problem. And that is a point we are making to them very directly."

Snowden has given highly classified documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers disclosing U.S. surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of phone records and online data in the name of foreign intelligence, often sweeping up information on American citizens. He also told the South China Morning Post that "the NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cellphone companies to steal all of your SMS data."

Snowden still has perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said over the weekend.

He had been in hiding in Hong Kong, a former British colony with a degree of autonomy from mainland China. The United States formally sought Snowden’s extradition but was rebuffed by Hong Kong officials who said the U.S. request did not fully comply with their laws. The Justice Department rejected that claim, saying its request met all of the requirements of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Said Carney: "We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship."


story continues below
story continues below

The dual lines of diplomacy — harsh with China, hopeful with the Russians — came just days after Obama met separately with leaders of both countries in an effort to close gaps on some of the major disputes facing them.

Snowden arrived in Moscow on Sunday, but his whereabouts were thrown into question Monday when a plane took off from Moscow for Cuba with an empty seat booked in his name. The U.S. has revoked his passport.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it would be "deeply troubling" if Russia or Hong Kong had adequate notice about Snowden’s plans to flee to a country that would grant him asylum and still allowed him leave.

"We don’t know, specifically, where he may head, or what his intended destination may be," Kerry said, responding to a question during a news conference in New Delhi where he was discussing bilateral issues between the U.S. and India.

U.S. officials pointed to improved cooperation with the Russians in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and to assistance the U.S. has given Russia on law enforcement cases.

"We continue to hope that the Russians will do the right thing," Kerry told NBC News. "We think it’s very important in terms of our relationship. We think it’s very important in terms of rule of law. These are important standards. We have returned seven criminals that they requested for extradition from the United States over the last two years. So we really hope that the right choice will be made here."

"We don’t know, specifically, where he may head, or what his intended destination may be," Kerry said during a news conference in New Delhi.

Carney said the U.S. was in touch through diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries through which Snowden might travel or where he might end up.

"The U.S. is advising these governments that Mr. Snowden is wanted on felony charges and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him here to the United States," Carney said.

An Aeroflot representative who wouldn’t give her name told The Associated Press that Snowden wasn’t on flight SU150 to Havana, which was filled with journalists trying to track him down.

In Moscow, security around the aircraft was heavy prior to boarding and guards tried to prevent the scrum of photographers and cameramen from taking pictures of the plane, heightening the speculation that Snowden might have been secretly escorted on board.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.