Hong Kong made a "negative impact" on U.S.-China relations by allowing Edward Snowden out of the region, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Though Carney said the U.S. informed Hong Kong about Snowden's travel status "in plenty of time to have prohibited travel," territory officials said the extradition request was incomplete. As a result, Hong Kong didn't stop or arrest Snowden, the former defense contractor accused of espionage, before he boarded a flight to Moscow - a response that Carney said was "particularly troubling."
"The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust," Carney said. "We think that they have dealt that effort a serious set back."
Snowden remains in Russia - the White House assumes - where Carney said he "expects the Russian government to look at all options available to them." President Obama later explained how the U.S. government has communicated with other nations about retrieving Snowden.
"We're following all the appropriate legal channels and working with various other countries to ensure that rule of law is observed," Mr. Obama said during a meeting on immigration.
While Snowden didn't board his flight to Ecuador this morning, his next travel plans - and ability to leave Russia without a passport - remain unclear.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., repeated the White House's sentiments to Russia earlier Monday, asking for Snowden's return in a letter to the Russian ambassador to the U.S. In his letter, Graham references the nations' post-Cold War alliance - which has recently been tested with differing opinions on the conflict in Syria.
"I urge your government to apprehend him and turn him over to United States authorities immediately," Graham wrote in a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "Mr. Snowden is wanted in the United States for criminal violations and should stand trial for his actions."