Kerry warns China, Russia of ‘consequences’ for aiding Snowden

Snowden is facing federal charges of espionage and theft of government property after he disclosed classified information detailing the NSA’s secret surveillance programs.

Echoing the White House, Kerry reserved his harshest criticism for China after Hong Kong allowed Snowden to board a flight to Moscow despite a U.S. extradition request.

He called it “deeply troubling” that Hong Kong would “willfully ignore” its treaty obligations with the United States.

Kerry also warned of repercussions for Russia, where Snowden is believed to be, saying that he had instructed Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns to put Moscow “on notice” that the administration expected them to send the former government contractor back to the U.S.

The secretary of State pointed out that the U.S. had honored its extradition treaty with Russia in the past, transferring seven prisoners over the past two years, and suggested such future cooperation could be harmed by Moscow's actions.

Kerry said that Snowden had “betrayed his country,” and dismissed claims from Snowden’s defenders that China and Russia are acting out of concern for personal freedoms.

“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,” Kerry said mockingly. “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.”

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