During a press conference today in the African country of Senegal, President Obama said that he would not authorize U.S. military jets to intercept Edward Snowden, should the NSA whistleblower try to fly to another country from Russia.
Snowden is currently stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport because his U.S passport has been annulled by the U.S. government.
“I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” said President Obama (video below).
“I’m not going to have one case of a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited, so that he can face the justice system here in the United States."
According to Mediaite.com, the president added: “I have not called President Xi personally or President Putin personally and the reason is because number one, I shouldn’t have to. This is something that routinely is dealt with between law enforcement officials in various countries and this is not exceptional from a legal perspective.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Snowden was in the airport’s transit zone. Snowden was expected to fly on to Cuba on a flight path around U.S. airspace.
“There has been no request from the foreign ministry or President Putin to issue a visa [to Snowden], and he has not asked for one,” a Russian immigration source told The Daily Telegraph.
Snowden was charged by the U.S. government for espionage after he gave details of the NSA's invasive surveillance program to The Guardian, a UK newspaper and website.