Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

US urges Russia to expel Snowden

Edward Snowden admitted providing information to the news media about two highly classified surveillance programmes (AP/The Guardian)

The United States is urging Russia to expel spy agency leaker Edward Snowden to the US to face justice, the White House said.

US officials are are working with Moscow in hopes he will be expelled and returned to America to face criminal charges, President Barack Obama's spokesman said.

He declared that a decision by Hong Kong not to detain National Security Agency leaker Edward 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 organisation, Julian Assange, said he wouldn't go into details about where Snowden was but said he was safe.

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

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the US 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 emphasised the importance of building mutual trust," he 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 US 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, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said over the weekend.

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