Feinstein: China ‘clearly had a role’ in Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong

June 23, 2013

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday that she believes China played a role in allowing Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong, wasting what she called an opportunity to "improve relations" with 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," Feinstein said on CBS's "Face The Nation."

Snowden, the man who revealed information about the U.S.'s sweeping surveillance efforts, reportedly traveled from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday. His final destination is unknown. Russian news reports said he is booked for travel to Venezuela by way of Cuba. Meanwhile, Ecuador's foreign minister tweeted Sunday afternoon that his government had received a request for asylum from Snowden. Cuba and/or Venezuela could be stopping points on the way to Ecuador.

"I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations and -- extradite him to the United States," Feinstein said. She added that Moscow now faces scrutiny over what they decide to do with Snowden.

"I think it'll be very interesting to see what Moscow does with him," Feinstein said.

Feinstein said Snowden should have stayed in the United States and faced consequences for his actions.

"I don't think this man is a whistleblower," Feinstein. "Whatever his motives are, and I take him at face value, he could've stayed and faced the music. I don't think running is a noble thought."

Updated at 2:49 p.m.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · June 23, 2013