U.S. warns Russia, others, of 'consequences' to aiding Snowden

Posted Jun 24, 2013 by Marcus Hondro
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned countries that might aid NSA-leaker Edward Snowden of "consequences" today. He said the U.S. in recent times sent Russia "prisoners" it asked for and he expects the same of Russia with regard Mr. Snowden.
Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden
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"There would be, without any question, some affect, an impact on the relationship (of a country harboring Snowden) and consequences. With respect to Russia, likewise," he said. "In the last two years, we have transferred seven prisoners to Russia that they wanted. So I think reciprocity in the enforcement of the law is pretty important."
Mr. Snowden is now thought to be in Russia, having flown there on a domestic flight from Hong Kong Sunday. He may be granted asylum in Ecuador and that country's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, confirmed that they have received a request for asylum from the 30-year-old. It was believed he would be on a flight this morning from Moscow to Cuba. It was thought that Mr. Snowden would travel through Cuba and then Venezuela to get to Ecuador.
However, reports say that he was not in his assigned seat on the flight to Cuba and AP reporters said he was not anywhere on the plane.
Kerry: some countries "play outside" legal system
The U.S. secretary of state made his comments from New Delhi after having engaged in talks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid there. Reporters peppered him with questions on the Snowden affair and Mr. Kerry was candid in his responses.
He said it would be a "serious question for all of us in our relationships." should countries ignore the extradition request of the U.S. and the fact Snowden has had his passport revoked. He said that the U.S. administration is aware that some countries "play outside" the legal process which world states have collectively set up.
Mr. Kerry also defended the surveillance system the U.S. has set up which Mr. Snowden's PRISM NSA leaks has exposed. He steadfastly claimed they do not violate the rights of U.S. citizens. "We take painstaking efforts, sometimes at the expense of endangering ourselves, to protect the rights of people," he said.
Similarly, President Obama recently defended the program on a PBS broadcast. He said the programs do not allow for intelligence agencies to listen to Americans phone calls or tap into their email without court approval.
The American president said the programs Mr. Snowden, at the time a contractor with the firm Booz Allen, leaked information about add to the chances of "preventing a catastrophe" but do not place in jeopardy the rights of citizens. “The one thing people should understand about all these programs, though, is they have disrupted plots, not just here in the United States but overseas as well,” he said.
Mr. Snowden is believed to have remained in Russia.