The United States has warned countries against giving shelter to fugitive Edward Snowden, or letting him travel internationally, as the former CIA contractor landed in Moscow and is said to be on his way to the South American country of Ecuador through Havana and Venezuela.
“The United States has been in touch via diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries in the Western Hemisphere through which Snowden might transit or that could serve as final destinations,” a State Department official said on Sunday.
“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,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, top US lawmakers doubted the intentions of both China and Russia in the latest unfolding development regarding Snowden, who flew from Hong Kong to Moscow.
“I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations and extradite him to the United States. China clearly had a role in this, in my view. I don’t think this was just Hong Kong without Chinese acquiescence,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the CBS news in an interview.
“I think his choice of Moscow was interesting. I think what’s interesting is that he was taken off in a car and his luggage in a separate car. I think it’ll be very interesting to see what Moscow does with him,” she said.
In response to a question, she said: “I think the first public revelation of this was the Mandiant report. It is interesting to me that this report drew no reaction from the Chinese Government.
“I know they have it. Our President has sat down with Xi Jinping (the Chinese President). And the latest is, well, we need to address this. And we really do need to address it. It is key to the development of a relationship among between our countries.”
Senator Charles Schumer, who is the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, warned Russia of “serious consequences” if it gives shelter to Mr. Snowden.
“What’s infuriating here is Prime Minister [Vladimir] Putin of Russia abetting Snowden’s escape,” Mr. Schumer told the CNN in an interview.
“I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship,” he said.