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WASHINGTON, August 1 (Itar-Tass) - The United States is "extremely disappointed" in Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the White House said on Thursday.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and private that Mr. Snowden be expelled and returned to the United States," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
The United States demanded that Snowden be sent to The United States to face prosecution for espionage over his leaks about United States electronic surveillance programs. According to the White House spokesman, Snowden is not “a wistleblower or a dissident.” "He is accused of leaking classified information,” Carney said. “He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible."
He said it was not a positive development for U.S.-Russia relations and that it undermined Russia's record of law enforcement cooperation with the United States. The White House added that it was “evaluating the utility” of a planned September summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The spokesman however confirmed Obama’s plans to attend a September meeting of the Group of Twenty in Russia’s St. Petersburg.
Carney said that Moscow had given the United States no advance notice before announcing its decision to grant Snowden one-year asylum. At the same time, he noted that the United States had a wide-ranging relationship with Russia and that it was not interested in a substantial deterioration in their relations over Snowden.