June 24th, 2013
12:51 PM ET

Kerry details U.S. attempts to get Snowden back

The United States has been waging a multi-country diplomatic effort to ensure Edward Snowden is returned to American authorities to face espionage charges, Secretary of State John Kerry asserted in an interview with CNN Monday.

Snowden, who admittedly leaked top secret information about government surveillance programs, left Hong Kong on Sunday and has thus far avoided U.S. extradition efforts. The United States has revoked his passport and encouraged countries to deny him asylum.

Asked how a man wanted on espionage charges was able to travel freely from Hong Kong to Russia, Kerry defended the U.S. government's role in trying to apprehend Snowden. He noted Snowden's passport was revoked as soon as the government's complaint against him was unsealed last week – before Snowden departed Hong Kong.

"We don't know what authorities allowed him to leave under those circumstances," Kerry told CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott. "We obviously have to find out from the Chinese what happened. We hope that the Russians will recognize the request of the United States."

International cooperation from Hong Kong, Russia, and other countries is essential in upholding "the rule of law," Kerry added.

On Sunday, Hong Kong authorities said the United States' extradition request did not meet its requirements to return Snowden. However, there's been speculation the semiautonomous Chinese city allowed Snowden to leave as retaliation for details about U.S. spying in China that Snowden revealed earlier this month.

The secretary of state would not concede that China may have allowed Snowden to leave Hong Kong for those reasons, saying he's seen nothing to indicate Beijing intervened in the decision.

"What we have here is a situation that has nothing to do with hacking. Nothing to do with illegality. Nothing to do with stealing. Everything to do with national security. In fact, their national security is at risk and at stake in the very same way," Kerry said.

Those risks could include the deaths of Americans at the hands of terrorists who now know more about U.S. surveillance programs, Kerry claimed.

Speaking about Snowden, Kerry said he sees "an individual who threatened his country and put Americans at risk though the acts that he took."

"People may die as a consequence to what this man did," he continued. "It is possible that the United States would be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in some way or another that they didn't know before. This is a very dangerous act."

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  49. lulz

    Capture him, and anyone that aids and abets this traitor

    getting your gestapo on eh america? i guess your not such a good guy after all huh?

    August 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  50. Mila M

    Norwegian sources say that Edward Snowden has arrived in Iceland in June 24, 2013.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  51. Kfaz

    The news media is far more concerned over this than either Obama or Putin. This guy is just a "NAT" in our pie right now, compared to who really needs to be caught. Media it's America's NO.1 problem right now.

    June 26, 2013 at 12:19 am | Reply
  52. Pete

    Snowden just told a news company he got the job with Booze strickly to get intel on where the NSA were hacking internationally..He just signed his death warrent and if he doesn't come back he'll have to be under heavy security in any country 24/7 because our country can't afford a ticking time bomb that could leak the intel he knows to everyone and he would just like mouthing off to news companies bragging just want and why he did this espionage..Snowden plain and simple just made the number one spot for most wanted internationally and someone somewhere will take him out to collect their prize if he doesn't turn himself in,just a stupid kid thinking he has America and its security systems in the NSA,CIA in the palm of his hands...His goose is cooked ...

    June 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  53. hender1123

    Kerry has pulled out all the stops. If the Russians don't return this guy Kerry will issue a "naughty, naughty" declaration and point his index finger at them and shake it. That should turn the trick. No one in their right mind wants to face the wrath of Kerry. And if that fails he will issue a "stop that inappropriate behavior" directive and if no response will be forced to say "stop", again. The Russians are in trouble, now.

    June 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  54. Ed Bodi

    How many people fleeing Cuba, China, Russia, etc, over the years has the U.S. returned to those coutries when requested? Sounds like hypocrisy to me. Poetic justice isn't it when the shoe is on the other foot.

    June 25, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply
  55. Max

    What about Obama's refusal to return 17 Uighur terrorist suspects back to China? The Chinese have requested these terrorists be return to their county when Obama was releasing them from Gitmo, instead Obama has sent them on a permanent vacation to Island nations at American Taxpayers expense.


    June 25, 2013 at 8:37 am | Reply
  56. joe c

    they should hang jonathon pollard

    June 25, 2013 at 7:05 am | Reply
  57. Andrey

    Looks like the Russians are busy talking some sense into the guy. Ecuador or Iceland may well be happy to grant him asylum, but they would have a really tough time protecting him from protracted pressure by US to cough him up, or a forcible extraction by a couple SEAL teams. Even flying from Hong Kong to Moscow might've been a safety measure on his part, since US could easily shoot down a passenger plane over the ocean and cover it up.

    June 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  58. yarr

    The bucks stop at Obama or NSA's chief. Either man should be wanted on espionage by Hongkong, China since Snowden said that the US spied on them.

    June 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  59. dmb

    Kerry said he sees "an individual who threatened his country and put Americans at risk though the acts that he took." That's funny, I think the same could be said about Kerry after his theatrics upon returning from Vietnam. Hypocrite.

    June 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  60. Patriot

    Capture him, and anyone that aids and abets this traitor.

    If it takes an easily-won war with Ecuador to get him and dissuade others, then the nation will be well-protected.

    June 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Killer O'Bama

      Thanks for backing me up, Patriot. We need more fools like you on this web page to drown out these annoying humanitarians here who only care about others and doing what's right. Snowden may be a hero, but thank goodness most people are too stupid to see that!

      June 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Reply
      • USMC1371

        How do you get "hero" from his actions? I don't disagree with what he brought to light but, the way he did it makes him a traitor. Their were many ways he could have handled it here. Now be needs to be held accountable for his actions.

        June 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
      • Alex279

        USMC1371, legalistically speaking he is a traitor. Same is true about Manning. But is there any alternative way to bring into spotlight he brought?

        Honestly, the best practical course of action for Kerry and Obama is to forget about Snowden as soon as possible. Insisting on his return will only bring more disclosure and ultimately more embarrasment.

        June 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • Frank

        The NSA cannot classify willful violations of the Fourth Amendment as Top Secret. Snowden violated no laws at all.

        June 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Alex279

      And how about easy-to-win war with Russia, where Snowden is right now?

      June 24, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
      • Phunnie boy

        Thank you, Alex279. I couldn't have put it better! This Snowden must be caught, he really must, but then again, what do I know? I'm just an uneducated, right-wing, hillbilly Tea Partier from the South!

        June 25, 2013 at 8:17 am |
      • Alex279

        What kind of tea do you prefer? Earl Gray? Bergamot flavor? English Breakfast? Lipton? Or may be green?

        June 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • SearchingForRuleOfLaw

      i'm wonderin' how many years you've spent in the military Patriot...
      you just sound like you're soooooo ready to start a war with someone... anyone...



      June 25, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply
  61. Gully Foyle

    All these politicos huffing and puffing about Snowden, and not a WORD about James Clapper lying through his teeth to the Senate. Why is it not a single official is even SUGGESTING that he be prosecuted?

    This is all about power run amok. The powerful want to continue to be able to run amok, and so have no problem with Clapper, who is on their side. But Snowden, on the side of the little guy, must be destroyed!!

    June 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  62. Navyvet8192

    Rules to apply when a whistle blower attempts to go public.

    #1: Deny it.
    #2: Attempt to silence the alleging party if you still have control of them.
    #3: Justify your actions with results of the misconduct that is alleged.
    #4: Make allegations against the whistle blower.
    #5: Destroy the credibility of the alleging party
    #6: Settle with the whistle blower to make it go away.

    The US Government was conducting illegal surveillance operations against US citizens. Everything else is government smoke and mirrors to justify their actions and destroy a "Real American" who cares about OUR rights!

    June 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  63. Justen

    John Kerry–Good ol' swiftboat himself is nothing more than a lying coward who himself is now advocating the arming of TERRORISTS in Syria....That man is a walking, talking EMBARRASSMENT to this country.

    June 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  64. John the Historian

    Leave Snowden, Assange and Manning alone. They are heroes for free speech and have the info to back it up. Open government now. Full transparency now.

    June 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  65. John Q.

    Russia has him and will not give him back. In the press meeting between Putin and Obama, Putin looked like a tiger and Obama a clueless little boy...

    June 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      Russia will not extradite him back. Period. The way how Obama and Putin look on their press conference is irrelevant.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  66. What Now

    I guess that I am truly amazed by all the people who have been drawn in by Mr. Snowden. They continue to take the word of a single individual as the whole truth. Why should I believe Mr. Snowden? Why should I turn my back on my entire government (the one we voted for by the way) for one man? We actually know very little about what is going on except that Mr. Snowden broke his promise, took our countries information and fled to countries that have typically been our enemy. My father who fought in WWII would be shocked by so many who have turned their backs on their own country based on the word of one person.

    June 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Justen

      Sorry, I'll take Snowdens word of that of the Nazi US Government any day of the week and twice on Saturday.

      June 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      If Mr. Snowden is broadcasting BS, no one would pay attention....right .....then why is it so important for the US government, from the President on done to silence him.

      June 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • Portland tony

        *Down not done

        June 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  67. Kevin McCarl

    The rule of law can be found in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. both of these treaties allow people to apply for protection against a country. If denied, it allows judicial review and due process.

    Asking countries to expel Snowden contravenes these conventions and violates the rule of law.

    I am embarassed that my country would even fathom asking for extrajudicial expulsion in lieu of the rule of law.

    June 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Patriot

      Yet that is precisely what Reagan would have done to save this country.

      Then again, we'd be watching Snowden being perpwalked much sooner – as he should.

      June 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Well put, Kevin> The right-wing thugs in Washington no longer have any respect for international law nor the rights of others! They really need to rename Washington D.C. Iniquity City D.C. since today's right-wing politicians chose to dishonor George Washington's name with their unmitigated iniquity!!!

      June 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Sorry folks, please disregard my comment above. I got a little tanked up before I made it. I thought I was Phunnie boy. I just want to reiterate that Edward Snowden is a traitor here and these no-wing idiots who keep screaming for his head would just shut up!!! Drone Edward.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • Phunnie boy

        Well put, if I do say so myself. I do make a pretty good troll for the right-wing thugs in Washington. I can't do anything about Snowden but I can keep on trolling this annoying humanitarian George Patton who never ceases to lambaste our iniquitous policies!!!!!!

        June 25, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  68. terr

    in a dictatorship truth becomes treasonous. Ron Paul

    June 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  69. Sandwich

    9/11, Boston, Sandy Hook.
    All staged by your government to scare you into giving up your liberties and arms.
    Inch by inch... until one day, you wake up in a world Hitler could only have dreamed of.

    June 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      I agree with you 100%. It is exactly what the Nazi Party did in Germany, divide and conquer is their game.

      June 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  70. b0bc4t

    This is hypocracy in its' finest image. John Kerry speaking out against a person who chose his conscience over his signed oath of service. Wasn't it John Kerry who spoke up against the Viet Nam War, after receiving the Medal of Honor. Snowden's conscience is obviously not as pure as our statesman, who only now professes that blind loyalty he wishes to see from Mr. Snowden. Snowden told OF the program, to reveal how intrusive it was... John Kerry spoke of how the nation was committing atrocities in the name of Freedom and War ... can you see the glaring difference that I am missing? How is John Kerry now our stateman, while Snowden has to flee for his life for expressing the dangers of government action today, vs yesterday's inconvenient actions to promote democarcy and World Peace (whirled Peas)

    June 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      Jon Kerry spoke AFTER the fact, in fact way AFTER, when nothing could be changed on the ground in Viet Nam.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  71. Bangash

    70% Americans are against the warmongers in USA and have punished Bush for Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Like snowden other Americans will finally come open and expose NSA's pro war policies which has badly damaged American economy and image in the world. So instead of chasing Snowden it is better to change which is always against the basic interests of American nation and have made them known as baby killers all over the world.

    June 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      I am sorry to tell it to you, but this means that 70% of Americans are irrelevant.

      What is relevant is who gets elected and what kind of decisions they make.

      June 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  72. Martin

    I pity every American who believes in the whole 'national security' crap. Give it a few more decades and some 'terrorist attacks' and you will find yourselves waking up in the Real Life 1984 society.

    In the ever true words of Benjamin Franklin himself: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    June 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  73. sassysticks53

    Well I hope Snowden is captured and faces justice. I consider him a threat to our national security. I will worry about the "issues" later.

    June 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Another idiotic comment from another mindless Tea Partier above! With people like this sassysticks53 above, this country can only go downhill and fast!!!

      June 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
      • madfoot713

        Idiot. I am a tea party supporter and also support snowden.

        June 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • George Patton

      I prefer he be droned before he falls into the hands of communists.

      June 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        Sorry folks, please disregard my comment above. I got a little tanked up before I made it. I thought I was Phunnie boy. I just want to reiterate that Edward Snowden is a true hero here and these right-wing idiots who keep screaming for his head would just shut up!!!

        June 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  74. Portland tony

    I've noticed all the politicians are more concerned about "capturing" Mr. "007" Snowden than they are about the "Issues" he has brought into public view. While he is probably guilty of violating the "security" of the NSA activities....No one is even speaking about the legal and political ramifications of his disclosures. No wonder that the rest of the world's political leaders are laughing (quietly) at our dilemma.

    June 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply

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