Washington says it expects the Russian government to ‘look at all options available’ to expel Edward Snowden to the US to face espionage charges. That’s after the White House expressed ‘disappointment’ China and Hong Kong didn’t detain the NSA leaker.
“The US is disappointed and disagrees with the determination by Hong Kong authorities not to honor the US request for the arrest of the fugitive,” the official told Reuters.
The US Justice Department has been in “continual contact”with Hong Kong authorities since the prominent whistleblower first revealed his identity and whereabouts on June 10, Reuters reports.
Hong Kong did not raise any issues in regard the sufficiency of the documents provided with the US request for Snowden’s arrest, the official claimed. “In light of this, we find their decision to be particularly troubling,” the official said.
US-Hong Kong communications on Snowden (via Reuters)
June 5: First batch of leaks revealed by the Guardian.
June 9: Edward Snowden steps forward as the source of the leaks
June 10: US DOJ starts communicating with Hong Kong counterparts.
June 14: US authorities charge Snowden under the Espionage Act and issue a warrant for his arrest.
June 15: US requests Hong Kong to provisionally arrest Snowden.
June 17: Hong Kong authorities respond that the matter was under review.
June 19: US Attorney General Eric Holder calls Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, stressing the importance of the case.
June 21: Hong Kong asks for more information about the charges and evidence in the case.
June 23: Hong Kong authorities notify the US that Snowden has left the country.
In Sunday’s press release however, announcing that Snowden has left Hong Kong, the island government acknowledged that the US was aware of discrepancies as they had filed a request for more information.
“Snowden left Hong Kong …on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel… [as there was] no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving,” the release read.
Earlier the US State Department issued a statement warning the countries of the ‘Western Hemisphere” about reports that Edward Snowden might be looking refuge in the region and urging them to not let the whistleblower in and assist with returning him to the US.
“The US is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” the official said as cited by Reuters.
The announcement by the Justice Department came as US authorities revoked Snowden’s passport, according to several US officials who spoke with the media on condition of anonymity.
“As is routine and consistent with US regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked,” Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman said in a statement. “Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status. Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States. Because of the Privacy Act, we cannot comment on Mr Snowden’s passport specifically.”
On Sunday, WikiLeaks which is allegedly helping Snowden escape the American justice system tweeted
Snowden left Hong Kong and is “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”
En route to his final destination, whistleblower Edward Snowden made a stopover at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Due to the absence of a Russian visa, he allegedly stayed overnight in a hotel in the airport’s transit zone. On Monday, he is expected to fly to Cuba before changing planes to Ecuador.