Biden calls Ecuador’s president about NSA leaker Snowden

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa on Saturday said Vice President Joe Biden had called him to urge the South American country to deny an asylum request from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, according to reports.

Correa added that no decision would be made on the asylum request unless Snowden was on Ecuadorian territory and said that the admitted leaker would “have to assume his own responsibilities” for his actions, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. 

{mosads}Correa disclosed the phone call from Biden during a television interview in Ecuador.

National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said Biden and Correa spoke on Friday, but would not provide more details.

“The Vice President spoke with President Correa on June 28. They engaged in a broad conversation regarding the bilateral relationship,” said Meehan in a statement. “They did discuss Mr. Snowden, but we are not going to provide details on their discussion.”

Snowden, a former government contractor, leaked classified information detailing the NSA’s secret surveillance of internet and phone data earlier this month.

He is believed to be in the transit area of Moscow airport where he fled after evading an extradition order in Hong Kong. Snowden has sought asylum in Ecuador, aided by Julian Assange the founder of Wikileaks. 

The Obama administration has pressed Russian officials to expel Snowden, who is facing federal charges on espionage and theft of government property to justice.

But those efforts have fallen short, with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week calling Snowden a “free man” and refusing to send him back to the U.S.

The U.S. has revoked Snowden’s passport according to reports.  Ecuador’s foreign minister said last week that his government was engaged in talks on how Snowden could travel from Moscow to his country.

This story was updated at 3:03 p.m.

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