America has reacted angrily to the asylum offer given to alleged leaker Edward Snowden in Russia.
Mr Snowden has been living in a transit lounge at a Moscow Airport for a month.
The move has caused relations between the US and Russia, already shaky, to be further strained.
Speaking at a press conference at the White House, spokesman Jay Carney makes it clear the Obama administration is not happy.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him. Mr Snowden is not a whistleblower. He is accused of leaking classified information and has been charged with three felony counts and he should be returned to the United States as soon as possible where he will be accorded full due process and protections.”
Jay Carney would not say if America will take steps in retribution, stating only the White House is re-evaluating whether President Obama will attend an upcoming summit with President Putin in September in Moscow.
The accusations against Edward Snowden include allegedly leaking details of US government surveillance programmes. He had been working with the National Security Agency.
Now that he is relatively safe, Snowden’s family are, not surprisingly, relieved. His father, Lonnie Snowden spoke on US television, and was grateful to both the Russian Premier and his son’s Russian lawyer.
“I am again thankful to the Russian people, President Vladimir Putin, and Anatoly Kucherena [Showden’s Russian lawyer], for the courage, the strength, the humanity that they have demonstrated and what I believe is this noble action of protecting my son and keeping him safe. It’s the honourable thing to do and as not just a citizen of the United States but a global citizen of this planet, an occupant of the earth, I am so thankful for what they have done for my son.
Protests around the world followed the disclosures about a massive global cyber surveillance programme.
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