Rejecting allegations of political vendetta, the U.S. has said Edward Snowden is rightfully charged by its courts for espionage and leaking classified information and Washington is making diplomatic efforts to ensure he is brought back to face those charges.
“Snowden has been lawfully charged in U.S. courts. As routine matter persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked. He remains a U.S. citizen. We welcome him back to the U.S. to face the charges against him, in accordance with due process and U.S. law,” the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said at her daily news conference.
A day earlier, Mr. Snowden had sought asylum in as many as 21 countries including India, Russia, Germany and China.
India, Brazil and Poland are the three countries which have rejected his request, while many others are either reluctant or have put conditions, prompting analyst to conclude that he is running out of options.
“I’m not going to get into a list or specific country-by-country. We have been in touch, as we have been for several days now, with a broad range of countries that could serve as either transit spots or final destinations,” Ms. Psaki said.
“What we’ve been communicating is, of course, what we’ve been communicating publicly, that Mr Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information. He is somebody that we would like to see returned to the U.S., of course. We are hopeful that that will happen,” she said.
The focus is on returning or communicating the reasons why Mr. Snowden should be returned to the United States and face charges here, she said.
“I’m not going to get into what we’re communicating to different countries. Every country has their own laws, and I would refer you to any of them. I know many of them have been talked about publicly. But we have been very clear, and we feel the same way today, that he should be returned here. He would be tried as a US citizen under the allegations he’s been accused of,” Ms. Psaki said.
“The case we’re making publicly is what we’re also making privately, that he is somebody who has been accused of leaking classified information, he remains a U.S. citizen, his right place is to be returned to the U.S. to be tried here,” she said.
Ms. Psaki, refrained from answering questions on India denying the asylum request to Mr. Snowden.
“I’m just not going to get into specific countries. I know there’s a lot happening at one time and again, we’ve just been communicating with a range of countries that could be both a stopover and a final destination,” she said.
Keywords: Edward Snowden, NSA, Electronic snooping, Indian embassy, classified documents, U.S. whistleblower, Snowden asylum plea, India-U.S. relations, CIA, U.S. courts, State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki