The White House is “extremely disappointed” that Russia decided to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Press Secretary Jay Carney said today.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him,” he told reporters at the daily briefing.
“Mr. Snowden is not a whistle-blower. 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.
The White House is now re-evaluating whether President Obama will attend a planned bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month.
“I don’t 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,” Carney said.
The State Department said today that “no decision has been made” about Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s plans to meet with their Russian counterparts next week, but that they are evaluating the situation now.
“We have nothing new to announce,” State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
Carney declined to speculate on Russia’s motives, saying “I think Russian officials can speak for themselves.”
“We have a broad and important relationship with Russia,” he added. “It encompasses areas of cooperation and agreement, as well as areas of disagreement and conflict. And, you know, we had long stated, as had President Putin, that we did not want this issue of Mr. Snowden to become a problem in our bilateral relationship because of its breadth and importance… We will obviously assess this and be in consultation with the Russian government moving forward.”