Secretary of State John Kerry said today that Russia should cough up NSA leaker Edward Snowden because the U.S. has in the past two years “transferred seven prisoners to Russia that they wanted.”
“I think reciprocity and the enforcement of the law is pretty important,” Kerry said at a press conference today with his Indian counterpart. “And I suppose there’s no small irony here — I mean, I wonder if Mr. Snowden chose China and Russia as assistants in his flight from justice because they’re such powerful bastions of internet freedom. And I wonder if while he was in either of those countries he raised the questions of internet freedom since that seems to be what he champions.”
With Ecuador considering Snowden’s asylum application, yet with the chance another Latin American nation with an anti-U.S. ruler such as Bolivia or Venezuela could take him, Kerry said “all appropriate countries have been notified with respect to the status — his status legally.”
“And that is the appropriate step to take, to put them on notice that he is an indicted — he is an indicted individual, indicted with three felony accounts, and that he is wanted by the legal process of the United States,” he continued. “And those countries are now on notice about that. Now historically we’ve always known there are some countries that play outside of that process, and we don’t know specifically where he may head or what his intended destination may be.”
Kerry said his department waited a week to revoke Snowden’s passport because “you have to first of all have the notification of the indictment.”
“I don’t know precisely when the order was received, but I do know that at the time — apparently at the time, we are waiting actually for confirmation of that. We don’t know where he traveled under that passport or another passport, we just don’t know all the details yet. So I’m waiting to get those details and obviously I’m a long way from there.”
Kerry said Russia is “on notice with respect to our desires.”
“But with respect to the China- Russia relationship and where this puts us, it would be deeply troubling, obviously, if they have adequate notice and not withstanding that they make a decision willfully to ignore that and not live by the standards of the law. There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong, and if there was adequate notice — I don’t know yet what the communication status was — but if there was, it would be disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result and there would be without any question some effect, an impact on the relationship, and consequences,” he said.