News / USA

White House 'Extremely Disappointed' in Russia’s Asylum Offer to Snowden

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Aug. 1, 2013.
White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Aug. 1, 2013.
Kent Klein
White House officials say they are “extremely disappointed” by Russia’s decision to grant asylum for one year to Edward Snowden, who is accused of leaking U.S. government secrets.  Officials are deciding how to respond.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday Russia’s offer of asylum to Snowden has undermined Russia’s record of law enforcement cooperation with the United States.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step, despite our very clear and lawful requests, in public and and in private, to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him,” he said.

The former National Security Agency contract systems analyst had been living in a Moscow airport for the past six weeks.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the Obama administration’s demand that Snowden be returned to the U.S. to face espionage charges for leaks that revealed American surveillance practices.

Carney described Snowden as a security risk who has been in possession of classified information both in China and in Russia.

“Mr. Snowden is not a whistleblower.  He is accused of leaking classified information, and has been charged with three felony counts, and he should be returned to the United States as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process and protections,” he said.

Moscow’s move could further strain U.S.-Russian relations, which are already under pressure from disagreements over Syria and other issues.

Carney said advisers were discussing whether to go ahead with President Barack Obama’s meeting with President Putin in Russia, scheduled to coincide with the September G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

“I do not have a scheduling announcement for you today, but obviously, this is not a positive development, and we have a wide range of interests with the Russians, and we are evaluating the utility of a summit,” he said.

Carney said Russia did not give the Obama administration notice of its asylum decision.  He said this was not just a legal matter, but also a matter of U.S. relations with Russia. 

The president’s spokesman, however, called the relationship between the two countries “broad and important.”  Carney said the benefits of engagement with Russia have been worth the accompanying conflicts and disagreements.

He said officials in Washington would continue to discuss the Snowden situation with their counterparts in Moscow. 

Some U.S. lawmakers have called on the president to take a tough stand against Russia, possibly including a U.S. boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs