The White House has said Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor who leaked classified government documents, is not a whistleblower and someone who put at risk the lives of Americans and the national security.
“Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, adding, “There actually is a specific process that is well-established and well-protected that allows whistleblowers to raise concerns that they have, particularly when it relates to confidential or classified information, to do so in a way that protects the national security secrets of the United States. That is not what Mr Snowden did.”
“His conduct put American lives at risk and it risked American national security. That is why the policy of the Obama administration is that Mr Snowden should return to the United States and face the very serious charges that he is facing,” he told reporters at his daily news conference on Wednesday.
“He will of course be afforded the rights that are due to every American citizen in our criminal justice system. But we believe that he should return to the United States and face those charges,” Earnest said.
Responding to a question, the White House official said there is no communication between Snowden and the US President.
“I’m not aware of any conversations or any communications between Mr Snowden and the President,” he said.
Snowden, charged by the US with espionage and theft of government property after leaking sensitive documents to themedia about NSA’s internet and phone surveillance, has been living in exile in Russia since June 2013.