POLITICS: White House

White House: China released Edward Snowden ‘despite a valid arrest warrant’

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Chinese government officials decided to release Edward Snowden to Russia “despite a valid arrest warrant” and then falsely claimed that U.S. officials had failed to file a proper extradition request, President Obama’s spokesman said today.

“The request that was made complied with all the requirements of the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters today. The Hong Kong government claimed that the request was not in compliance with the law and that the U.S. ignored their request that a correction be made. Carney said the U.S. was following up with Hong Kong when they released Snowden.

Carney blames the broader Chinese government for that decision. “[W]e are just not buying that this was a technical decision [by a Hong Kong extradition official],” Carney told reporters. “This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant.”

If Russia imitates China in refusing to extradite Snowden, but instead tries to fly him to another country, will the U.S. military force the plane to land on U.S. soil? Carney refused to rule out the use of such force when asked about it by reporters.

“I’m not going to engage in speculation about various options,” Carney said, after saying that “we expect the Russian authorities to examine all the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden appropriately.”


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