WASHINGTON, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – The United States believes that former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is in Russia and is calling on Moscow to assess “the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
The announcement came just hours after Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks, said Snowden was “safe and healthy” but declined to reveal his whereabouts.
“It is our understanding that Mr. Snowden remains in Russia,” Carney told a news briefing at the White House on Monday.
Carney declined to go into details about conversations between US officials and their Russian counterparts regarding Snowden’s whereabouts and the outstanding warrant for his arrest in the United States, saying only that there are communications between the two countries “at all the appropriate levels.”
Snowden is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans. He took a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday accompanied by WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, the organization said in a statement.
Carney repeatedly stated during the briefing that in light of US-Russian law-enforcement cooperation in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, as well US assistance in returning “high-level criminals” to Russia, Washington hopes for Russia’s assistance in having Snowden returned to the United States.