The United States on Friday warned Russia against giving fugitive leaker Edward Snowden a “propaganda platform” by letting him stay in the country, reported the AFP news agency.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that such a move was not consistent with Moscow’s assurances that it did not want the Snowden affair to harm U.S.-Russia relations.
“Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government’s previous declarations of Russia’s neutrality,” Carney said, according to AFP.
“It’s also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests,” he added.
Carney also renewed a U.S. call on Russia to expel Snowden so that he could be returned to American soil to face trial for leaking U.S. national security secrets.
Snowden earlier told activists he wanted to claim asylum in Russia until he can travel on to Latin America, in his first encounter with the outside world since becoming marooned at a Moscow airport three weeks ago.
Snowden has applied for asylum in 27 countries. Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have all expressed readiness to consider giving Snowden asylum.
President Vladimir Putin has vowed that Moscow will not extradite Snowden but also indicated the Kremlin is keen to see the back of a man who has added an additional problem to already strained relations with Washington.
On Friday, the Kremlin said that Snowden could stay in Russia if he stops issuing leaks that damage the United States.
"Mr. Snowden could hypothetically stay in Russia if he: first, completely stops the activities harming our American partners and U.S.-Russian relations and second, if he asks for this himself," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments quoted by Russian news agencies.
Top secret documents published by the British Guardian and published Thursday show that Microsoft has collaborated closely with U.S. intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)