Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the White House is “extremely disappointed” that Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum. Early this morning, Snowden left the Moscow airport after he was granted temporary asylum by Russia.
Carney also stated that Snowden isn’t a whistleblower or a dissident and described the situation as ‘not a positive development’ for U.S.-Russia relations. The move undermines Russia’s record of law enforcement cooperation with the U.S.
The White House is considering cancelling a planned fall summit between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“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,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Moscow did not give any advanced notice to the White House before they announced their decision to grant a one year, temporary asylum request to Snowden. Relations between the US are already strained because of differences regarding the war in Syria, but Putin did say the request was granted contingent upon Snowden refraining from hurting U.S. interests.
This “disappointment” is a switch from Obama’s cavalier attitude toward Snowden when the leaks were first brought to light. Initially, Obama dismissed Snowden and the NSA leaks to the media by saying “No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” Obama said.
The President also said “I shouldn’t have to” personally call the leaders of China and Russia to have them turn over Snowden after details of classified documents were made public.
“We’ve got a whole lot of business that we do with China and Russia,” Obama said. “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.”