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  1. ITV Report

Edward Snowden granted temporary asylum in Russia

A copy of the document issued by Russian authorities confirming Edward Snowden's right to temporary asylum. Photo: RTV

The White House said it was "extremely disappointed" with Russia's decision to grant US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum.

Diplomatic Correspondent John Ray reports:

Snowden left Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for the first time since he arrived in the country from Hong Kong on June 23 but his lawyer said his whereabouts would now be kept secret for security reasons.

The US demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution on espionage charges over his leaks that revealed wide US electronic surveillance programmes, but Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the request.

He said his decision on asylum was contingent on Snowden not harming US interests.

We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step, despite our very clear and lawful request in public and in private to have Mr Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him. Mr Snowden is not a whistleblower.

He is accused of leaking classified information and has been charged with three felony counts and he should be returned to the United States as soon as possible where he will be accorded full due process and protections.

– JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN

Carney said Moscow gave the US no advance notice before announcing its decision to grant Snowden asylum.

He added that the White House would re-evaluate whether President Obama should attend an upcoming summit with Putin this September in Moscow.