July 12 - The White House announced President Barack Obama would speak Friday afternoon with Russian President Vladimir Putin, hours after former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden said he would seek temporary asylum in Russia. Mana Rabiee reports.
Barack Obama planned to raise U.S. concerns over the Edward Snowden saga directly with Russia's Vladimir Putin on Friday afternoon. The high-level contact was scheduled several days ago, the White House said, but the timing couldn't be better .. Hours earlier, Snowden, who's wanted in the U.S. for leaking secret surveillance programs, met with human rights groups inside a Moscow airport to say he plans to seek temporary asylum in Russia. White House Spokesman Jay Carney: (SOUNDBITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN JAY CARNEY SAYING: "Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government's previous declarations of Russia's neutrality and that they have, and that they have no control over his presence in the airport." State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, if Moscow grants his asylum request, U.S.-Russian relations could be hurt. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON JEN PSAKI SAYING: "There's no question that, as we've stated with any country that would have a roll in assisting him either in transit or a final place for him to live that that would raise concerns in our relationship. However we are not at that point yet." Vladimir Putin has refused American requests so far to return Snowden. The wanted man has been holed up in a transit area at the Moscow airport for nearly three weeks, as he considers his next steps.