The news that Russia granted temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden has the White House “extremely disappointed”, according to Press Secretary Jay Carney.
During the daily briefing, Carney expressed the displeasure with which this latest move was received by the Obama administration.
Carney says Snowden isn’t a whistleblower or a dissident. He added that it’s not a positive development for US-Russia relations and the move undermines Russia’s record of law enforcement cooperation with the US.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Snowden left the Moscow airport on Thursday morning after spending over a month in wait of safe passage to a foreign country.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who is on opposite sides with the US on most topics, had appeared to be against such a move in recent weeks.
Putin had even made a statement saying that Snowden needed to stop hurting the US and its allies, in what appeared to be a more conciliatory tone.
The White House is considering whether to attend a previously planned fall summit, in which Putin and Obama were to meet.
Jay Carney’s statement said in part,
We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and private that Mr. Snowden be expelled and returned to the United States.
Moreover, Moscow did not give the US any notice before deciding to grant the former NSA employee temporary asylum.
Putin has said that if Russia was to allow Snowden on its soil he would have to stop leaking classified information that hurts the US.
Today’s statements come in stark contrast to previous ones from the US President in which he attempted to downplay the importance of catching Snowden.
We’ve got a whole lot of business that we do with China and Russia. And I’m not going to have one case of a suspect that we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited so that he can face the Justice system here in the United States.
Snowden has thanked Russia for granting him temporary asylum and has criticized the White House saying they have “no respect” for the law.