The United States government is investigating the possible involvement of China in the Edward Snowden leaks. American intelligence officials are trying to find out if Chinese intelligence authorities exploited Snowden’s concerns or if it is a part of their operation, according to report from John Walcott of Bloomberg.
No Concrete Evidence Showing That Snowden was a Chinese agent
According to American intelligence officials, currently, there is no concrete evidence showing that Snowden was a Chinese agent or that China used him as an intermediary or directly facilitated his flights to Hong Kong and Moscow. The officials, who requested their identities remain anonymous, explained that their responsibility is to investigate the worst-case scenario for the United States.
The Obama administration criticized China for allowing Snowden to depart Hong Kong to Moscow, a clear demonstration of its insensitivity to the U.S. government’s effort to bring back the fugitive leaker. China previously expressed concerns regarding about the allegations of the fugitive leaker that the National Security Administration (NSA) has direct access to internet networks.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of China commented that any implication that Snowden was working with Chinese intelligence operation was “complete nonsense and irresponsible.” He also emphasized that China and the United States maintain close contact and dialogue.
China’s Involvement in Snowden’s Actions
Suspicions regarding China’s involvement in Snowden’s action escalated when he made his initial revelations the night before a summit between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. At that time, Obama intended to confront Jinping about his government’s initiative in cyber-espionage.
The United States ended up in a defensive situation because of Snowden’s revelations. Demonstrations in Hong Kong also showed that people there do not want him to be extradited to the U.S.
Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Snowden was in the transit in the Moscow airport as he tries to get political asylum and protection. Putin said that Snowden is a free man, and he cannot hand over Snowden because Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States. He also statted that technically, the former spy contractor and leaker is not in Russia because he in a transit zone.
According to Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson for the National Security Council, Russia has a “clear legal basis to expel Mr. Snowden based on the status of his travel documents, and the pending charges against him.”
China and Russia Denied Allegations
However, Putin preferred not to interfere in the case and it is problematic to navigate a diplomatic resolution. He said, “I’d prefer not to deal with this issue at all. It’s like shearing a pig — too much squeaking, too little wool. The Russian president said Snowden was free to leave Russia. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it will be for us and him.”
China and Russia denied allegations of any involvement in helping Snowden escape prosecution in the United States.