TODAY   |  June 25, 2013

Jay Carney: China ‘deliberately’ let Snowden escape

Albert Ho, Edward Snowden’s attorney in Hong Kong, revealed that the NSA leaker fled China through “the official channel” as U.S. officials say the decision to let Snowden go has “a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> now back to the nsa story. a lot of mixed singals about the whereabouts of edward snowden this morning. russian officials are now insisting he has not crossed their border. accusing them of harboring him we hear from the foreign minister this morning is ungrounded and unacceptable.

>>> let's get to andrea mitchell , good morning to you.

>> good morning. matt, this is all murky. u.s. officials believe he is in russia , perhaps at the airport and they are increasing it on moscow today even though they claim they have nothing to do with the former nsa contractor.

>> in an interview this morning, edward snowden 's attorney while he was in hong kong suggests that hong kong and china turned a blind eye to his swift departure.

>> the solution was get him out. disappear from hong kong . and at the same time, they realized that the only point that they have to answer openly is about why didn't they stop him at the airport and maybe, you know, they have some smart man on the legal team able to spot some error in the documents served on them by the americans.

>> this comes as he provides details of how easily snowden fled hong kong . the fbi thought he was trapped.

>> he used his passport, his american passport . he went through the official channel instead of being arranged to go through a special channel. nothing unusual happened. everything went on as usual, as normal.

>> reporter: u.s. officials aren't trying to conceal their anger at china which let snowden escape to moscow.

>> this was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the u.s., china relationship.

>> reporter: the question, where is snowden and if he is in russia , will putin deliver him to the u.s. putin is hardly a friend, most recently blocking u.s. policy on syria. if russia doesn't cooperate with the fbi there could be consequences. secretary of state john kerry told nbc news.

>> we continue to hope that the russians will do the right thing. we think it's very important in terms of our relationship. we think it's very important in terms of rule of law.

>> reporter: snowden is evading capture with help from wikileaks whose founder spoke out monday.

>> it's clear he is a whistle blower.

>> he had asylum in ecuador's london embassy.

>> and in another twist, a hong kong newspaper that interviewed snowden said he told them that he decided to leak top secrets and only then sought the job with the nsa contractor. indicating that was his plan all along.