The Washington Post

White House: Hong Kong damaged relationship by releasing Snowden

Hong Kong made a "deliberate choice" to release Edward Snowden and has damaged relations between the United States and China in the process, White House Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

In strong terms, Carney condemned the release of the former National Security Administration staffer who leaked top-secret government documents to journalists.

“The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust, and we think that they have dealt that effort a series setback," he said.

Snowden fled Hong Kong for Moscow on Sunday. He did not board a flight to Havana on Monday as was expected. "It is our understanding that Mr. Snowden remains in Russia," Carney said.

Hong Kong officials have said that they had no legal basis to hold Snowden because they had not received a response from the U.S. Department of Justice to questions about its request that Snowden be arrested.

“We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official," Carney said, arguing that authorities had plenty of notice that Snowden's passport had been revoked.

“The Hong Kong authorities were advised of the status of Mr. Snowden’s travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited his travel as appropriate," he said. "This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive… and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.”

Carney would not say whether President Obama has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping since Snowden's release. But he did say that the administration is communicating with authorities in Russia. "We have communicated to the Russians our hope that they will look at all options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States," he said.

Asked whether he had spoken with Russian President Vladmir Putin, Obama told reporters Monday that "we are following the appropriate legal channels and working with various countries to make sure that all the rules are followed."

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.