MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – The White House expects Russia to consider “all options available” to extradite Edward Snowden, a former US intelligence contractor wanted by the United States for revealing a highly classified surveillance program, National Security Council Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement on Monday.
“Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters – including returning numerous high-level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government – we expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” Associated Press quoted the statement as saying.
Snowden, 30, left Hong Kong on a Moscow-bound plane on Sunday, a day after the United States formally requested his extradition. Media reports cited airport officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport as saying that Snowden would not be allowed to leave the premises because he did not have a Russian visa and would therefore only be able to fly to a third destination.
Anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which has released thousands of classified US government messages, said Sunday in a statement that Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”
Ecuador’s foreign minister confirmed on Sunday on Twitter that Snowden had requested asylum in Ecuador.