Snowden’s great escape

The whereabouts of whistleblower Edward Snowden remain unknown. The United States believe that he is in Russia and White House officials are demanding that the former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee be handed over.


Frankly, I don’t think that Russia is even in the position to transfer Snowden to the US.

Edward Lozansky, the founder and president of the American University in Moscow

The 30-year-old intelligence analyst first sought refuge in Hong Kong and when his departure from there was not blocked, the White House warned of an “unquestionably” negative impact on US-Chinese relations.

The White House believes that the countries said to be on Snowden’s shortlist of destinations undermine his claim to be a champion of transparency, freedom of the press and civil rights.

Snowden has been charged by the US of espionage and spying after revealing to Western newspapers how the US National Security Agency (NSA) spies on the internet and phone activities of millions of people. The programme, named PRISM, was authorised by a secret court.

In a letter sent to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, Republican senator Lindsey Graham urged Moscow to ‘apprehend’ and ‘turn over’ Snowden to the US ‘immediately’ if he is still in the country, warning: “The Snowden case is an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries. Mr Snowden’s own statements have made clear his guilt. If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”

On Sunday, New York senator Charles Schumer told reporters: “It seems to me that Mr Putin is almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States. In so many different areas he does not cooperate. Very few are the areas in which he does cooperate these days and I think this action, Putin allowing Snowden to land in Russia and then go somewhere else, is going to have serious consequences for US-Russian relationship.”


So, as Washington tries to detain the NSA whistleblower, strains emerge with Russia and China. What are the diplomatic repercussions of tracking down Edward Snowden?

Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, is joined by guests: Charles Kupchan, a former US National Security Council official and a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University; Edward Lozansky, the founder and president of the American University in Moscow; and Andrew Weiss, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Russians and Chinese often find that the US is on its white horse … and all of a sudden this information comes out that the US is engaging in surveillance … so there is a sense that the US is getting its just deserts here. And so I think that’s one of the reasons that even though Russia and China do not want have a falling out with the United States over Snowden, they see this as an opportunity to push back against what they see as overzealous democracy promotion from Washington.”

– Charles Kupchan, a former US National Security Council official


Al Jazeera

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