Snowden on the run: Weakens case by choosing China, Russia, says Obama administration

SHARE Snowden on the run: Weakens case by choosing China, Russia, says Obama administration
SHARE Snowden on the run: Weakens case by choosing China, Russia, says Obama administration

WASHINGTON–With former NSA contractor Edward Snowden still on the run Monday morning, the Obama administration is questioning his motives for leaking documents on U.S. snooping because of his travel to Hong Kong, Russia and possibly Venezuela and Ecuador.

Snowden flew from Hawaii to Hong Kong; over the weekend he landed in Moscow. His whereabouts now are not known. There is speculation he will transit through Cuba en route to Ecuador.

Secretary of State John Kerry in a sarcastic comment about Snowden’s choice of countries said it is not like China and Russia are “Such powerful bastions of internet freedom.”

A Senior Administration Official said, “Mr. Snowden’s claim that he is focused on supporting transparency, freedom of the press and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador. His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the U.S., not to advance internet freedom and free speech.”

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said Sunday, “We are disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite the legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement. We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China bilateral relations.

“We now understand Mr. Snowden is on Russian soil. Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters — including returning numerous high level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government — we expect the Russian Government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged.”

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