News / USA

US Presses Russia to Turn Snowden Over

A Russian policeman stands outside the embassy of Ecuador in Moscow, June 24, 2013.
A Russian policeman stands outside the embassy of Ecuador in Moscow, June 24, 2013.
VOA News
The U.S. says it is pressuring Russia to expel an intelligence contractor to the United States to face espionage charges for his disclosure of clandestine American surveillance programs.

In his secretive hide-and-seek run for asylum, Edward Snowden had been booked on a Monday flight from Moscow to Havana, with his possible eventual destination Ecuador, where he is seeking asylum. But the flight to the Cuban capital left with no sign of him on board.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose secret-disclosing organization is assisting Snowden, said the American fugitive is safe, but declined to disclose where he is.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. has frequently returned criminal suspects to Russia and said it expected to Russia to turn over the 30-year-old Snowden to American authorities.

Carney criticized China for what he said was Beijing's "deliberate choice" to allow Snowden to fly Sunday from Hong Kong to Moscow. He said the Chinese decision "unquestionably" damaged relations between the U.S. and China.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to India, said U.S. authorities "don't know, specifically, where [Snowden] may head, or what his intended destination may be."

Ecuador's foreign minister, Richard Patino, said at a news conference in Vietnam that Snowden had asked for asylum but he "can't give information on Snowden's whereabouts." Patino said his government has been in contact with Moscow.

Kerry said it "would be deeply troubling" for Hong Kong and Russia to allow Snowden to continue his international journey to escape prosecution in the U.S.    

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says the White House is disappointed that Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong despite a "legally valid" request for his arrest. The statement early Monday says the United States has registered "strong objections" with authorities in Hong Kong and the Chinese government. Assange said Snowden had a "refugee document of passage" from the Ecuadorian government before leaving Hong Kong.

Ecuador says it is analyzing Snowden's request for asylum. Patino said it would consider the asylum request based on the "principles of its constitution."

Quito has often criticized U.S. foreign policy, and Patino noted that the U.S. has refused in the past to extradite "fugitive bankers...who have hurt the interests of many Ecuadorians."

U.S. officials say Snowden's passport was revoked before he left Hong Kong for Moscow. The government has advised countries where Snowden may pass through or serve as his final destination that he is wanted on felony charges and should not be allowed to travel internationally.

Ecuador has sheltered Assange at its London embassy for the past year to prevent his possible extradition to the Sweden where he is under investigation for sexual assault. His lawyers say Assange fears he will be sent to the United States in connection with the group's publication of secret U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010.

Snowden leaked documents showing that U.S. intelligence services have gathered data for years about patterns of telephone and Internet use. He said he believes the programs violate the privacy rights of citizens.

A senior administration official sharply criticized Snowden's motives, saying his focus on transparency and individual rights "is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen." The official listed China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador, saying Snowden's failure to criticize those governments shows his "true motive" was to harm U.S. national security.

Senior U.S. officials have said the surveillance programs do not monitor the content of phone conversations, but look for patterns in the metadata, including information on the time, date and numbers called.

U.S. authorities also have said the programs prevented at least 50 terrorist attacks worldwide since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. They have accused Snowden of weakening their ability to foil future plots.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: budlydoright from: Houston, Texas U.S.A.
June 24, 2013 2:24 PM
So Mr. Obama you now know what it is like to have to have no respect on the world stage. Even tiny Hong Gong flips you off, it's wuses like you that get this country into real wars. Mr. Putin is about to stick more than a finger in you're eye. Get ready to bend over.

by: mday1 from: New Haven
June 24, 2013 10:18 AM
Democracy Now! aired a great show today about Edward Snowden, and interviewed The Guardian reporter who wrote about all these leaks (his name is Glenn Greenwald), as well as a lawyer who represents Wikileaks. Check it out on their website, you can google "democracy now". It's really worth a listen.

by: Regula from: USA
June 23, 2013 7:11 PM
Congratulations Mr. Snowdon for the timely evasion of ridiculous charges by the US government. No, Snowdon is no traitor or coward, the NSA is: a crook, accusing Snowdon of having stolen its stolen goodies.

We all wish you success to arrive in Ecuador safe and hope Ecuador will give you asylum, so the mad chase ends. In this case it is more than clear that Snowdon is a whistle blower and not a traitor under the espionage act. The government had no right to collect the data without consent by the public. Even the FISA court notified the government that it overstepped legal boundaries. The US government tries with every means to justify illegal because authoritarian practices under a rather weak and foul pretense that it foiled terrorist acts. In reality there is very little proof that those acts were in fact stopped by the surveillance rather than by more conventional police work.

The US government would of course have known that Hong Kong and China did not want to catch Snowdon. After all, he gave them a large gift by restoring truth to the US accusations against China for cyberspying - when the US spied into just about every government server in China and Hong Kong. Why is the US government so upset about this rebalancing of democratic equal rights to know?

by: Ciaran Mulcahy from: Dublin, Ireland
June 23, 2013 5:52 PM
If Snowden is flown to the America's, from Moscow, it will probably be on a scheduled Aeroflot aircraft, via Shannon, Ireland.

by: Mike
June 23, 2013 4:15 PM
It is good that Snowden has arrived in Russia. This will force some politicians in the United States to understand that Russia - the enemy of the United States, as rightly said Mitt Romney. Also this is further evidence that both Russia and Communist China, the enemy of the United States and the entire democratic world. They are ready to take any criminal if he did any muck against America. Snowden is a traitor and a coward who tries to escape from justice to authoritarian countries like China and Russia, Cuba and Ecuador.
In Response

by: oldlamb from: guangzhou
June 26, 2013 11:18 AM
I also cite a simple example for you:A,B,C are three persons.B saw A was stelling and undermining C’s property.Because of the conscience,B told C what A was doing.A was angry and urged C arrest B,and present B to A. The questions:Should C thank B? Or should C arrest B and present B to A?What was God’s justice?
In Response

by: Mike
June 24, 2013 4:39 PM
To Brian from Baton Rouge, LA .
Yes, I voted for Romney. And like me - almost half of the country. I completely disagree with you. I'm not going to change my view on what happened with Snowden. In any country Snowden act is a crime. Snowden's attempt to hide from justice in the countries - enemies of the United States only shows that he is a coward and a traitor. In addition, he was stupid - he has not made and can not bring an end to surveillance intelligence on the Web. This is done and always will do all countries of the world, especially Russia and China, which delighted with such naive and knew nothing about the geopolitical realities people like you.
In Response

by: Brian from: Baton Rouge, LA
June 23, 2013 6:56 PM
Mike, Mr. Snowden must make you feel very uncomfortable, since you are ready to denigrate him for doing what a lot of other people feel is a welcome searchlight into the dank sectors of our government. I would sooner have a thousand Snowdens and dispel the justifications for terrorism on all sides than continue the increasing prevalence of secrecy that costs unnecessary tax money that is desperately defending a crumbling Roman empire. The U.S. fears the type of patriot that Snowden represents, and this kind of information-level vulnerability that we find ourselves in the middle of is simply inexcusable. If someone like Snowden can carry it away... if it exists in U.S. custody, then China/Russia//NorthKorea/Iran/YourMom can get it from anyone. Following your logic, the rest of the truth-deprived, empire trodden world is a crime, and the level of analysis you bring to the table is an indicator of how much you actually think about the deteriorating condition of this nation's political climate. You voted for Romney? Ha! I voted for Herman Cain.
In Response

by: Dave from: USA No Liberty Here
June 23, 2013 6:42 PM
No, he's a hero. The DNS are the traitors, spying on everything Americans say online without a warrant. Welcome to 1984 Mike, I hope you enjoy your stay in a police state.
In Response

by: jim from: U.S.
June 23, 2013 6:39 PM
You've stated the problem but what are the viable options. Neither country is going away and like it or not we have to deal with them. Of course if the Business Community wasn't out to make a buck and Congress didn't kowtow we might have some leverage. The truth is in the bigger world of Corporations, Espionage, the intermingling of economies, etc. you name it Snowden is small fry and in a couple of months it will be Snowden who? Just like Bradley Manning of Wikileaks Fame.
In Response

by: VagaBond
June 23, 2013 6:38 PM
Since when do we allow 700 billion dollar trade deficits with enemy's?
In Response

by: Austin Activist from: Austin, TX
June 23, 2013 6:32 PM
Romney lost, by the way, and calling Russia "our No. 1 geopolitical foe" was only one of many mistakes he made. Ecuador is hardly "authoritarian." Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic, and may soon welcome and shelter a man I regard as as much a hero as I do Daniel Ellsberg.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs