Obama Admin to Human Rights Group: Snowden 'accused criminal'

Obama Admin to Human Rights Group: Snowden 'accused criminal'

The Obama administration reminded Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the U.S. considers Edward Snowden “an accused criminal, not a whistle-blower.”

According to The Hill, a U.S. Embassy staffer called HRW’s Russian program director Tanya Lokshina to say “that Ambassador [Michael] McFaul wanted to pass on to me the official position of the US authorities re: Snowden not being a human rights defender but a law breaker who had to be held accountable.”

The embassy asked that the information discussed in the phone call be conveyed to Snowden, and Lokshina obliged them. She said Snowden “was not surprised” with the U.S. position, but he “strongly disagreed.”

On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney also spoke publicly regarding the relation between human rights groups and Snowden: “These groups do important work, but Mr. Snowden is not a human rights activist or dissident.”

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.