US, China, Russia Brawl Over Snowden

Fight over NSA leaker is going global

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2013 4:27 AM CDT | Updated Jun 25, 2013 7:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Edward Snowden is rapidly becoming one of the biggest one-man international incidents since the end of the Cold War. As the NSA whistleblower, who is believed to still be in Moscow, remains out of sight, angry words are flying between Moscow, Beijing, Quito, and Washington, the New York Times reports. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the incident has "unquestionably" damaged the US-China relationship, and repeated a demand for Russia to hand Snowden over to US authorities. (Indeed, the AP has an entire article about the diplomatic mess Snowden has created.) "I wonder if Mr. Snowden chose China and Russia as assistants in his flight from justice because they’re such powerful bastions of Internet freedom," John Kerry scoffed.

  • Russia denies having any information on Snowden, but many experts find that hard to believe. "The guy is supposedly carrying four laptops, plus a bunch of thumb drives, supposedly knows all sorts of other things," says an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "You don’t pass up an opportunity like that. You don’t just let him pass through the business lounge, on the way to Cuba."
  • But here's Russia's official word on the matter, according to CNN: "We have nothing to do with Mr. Snowden, or his movements around the world. ... He chose his itinerary on his own. He has not crossed the Russian border," said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference, calling the US "accusations" "absolutely groundless and unacceptable." CNN notes that Snowden could be "somewhere on the transit side of the airport's immigration process" in Moscow; a passenger says she saw him on the flight from Hong Kong to that city.
  • China has fired back at US accusations that Beijing made the decision to allow Snowden to depart Hong Kong, the Guardian reports. An editorial in the top state-run newspaper demanded an "explanation and apology" from the US, and praised Snowden for "tearing off Washington's sanctimonious mask."
  • If Snowden does manage to make it to Ecuador to seek asylum, President Rafael Correa says that the decision on the case will be made with "absolute sovereignty," reports the Washington Post. His foreign minister slammed the US for pursuing "the man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone."
  • Julian Assange claims Snowden is "in a safe place and his spirits are high," and that WikiLeaks is helping him seek asylum.

Graphic shows the geographical career path and recent travels of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.   (Associated Press)
In this June 21, 2013 file photo, a banner supporting Edward Snowden is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Guardian)
Snowden didn't make it onto this flight to Havana yesterday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A Hong Kong legislator holds pictures of President Obama and Edward Snowden.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Ecuador's Foreign Mister Ricardo Patino speaks to reporters at a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)
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