Washington, DC, United States (4E) – White House accused China on Monday of deliberately releasing fugitive Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) employee who leaked classified information on a secret program to collect domestic phone call and Internet use data.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said there was already a valid arrest warrant for Snowden when the Hong Kong government allowed him to fly to Moscow on Sunday. The U.S. is seeking Snowden’s extradition to answer criminal charges of theft of government property and espionage.
He is accused of stealing information on the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance programs while working at the NSA office in Hawaii. The information was revealed to the press leading to their publication early this month.
Snowden’s lawyer was quoted as telling Chinese media that the Chinese government told his client to leave Hong Kong and he won’t be stopped.
Carney suggested that Hong Kong and Chinese authorities could not be counted on in complying with their extradition treaty with the U.S.
In India, Secretary of State John Kerry warned of repercussions on China-U.S. ties if Hong Kong knew in advance Snowden’s travel plans. The self-confessed NSA leaker is reportedly seeking asylum in Ecuador and is transiting in Moscow for a flight to Havana, Cuba, where flights to Quito are available.
Meanwhile, Carney said the U.S. government expects Russia to expel Snowden, whose whereabouts are unknown.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said their lawyers are helping Snowden in his flight to avoid extradition to the U.S.