Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, told Business Insider that he did not reach out to the Human Rights Watch organisation about National Security Agency leak source Edward Snowden on Friday.
“I did not call Tanya,” he said of Tanya Lokshina, the HRW representative who was at a meeting with Snowden in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.
McFaul’s comment directly contradicts information about the meeting released earlier by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which alleged McFaul called an HRW representative about Snowden to say that the U.S. does not view him as a “whistleblower” under the law.
WikiLeaks suggested that McFaul’s call to the representative proved that Snowden was being “persecuted” by the U.S.
“The Human Rights Watch representative used this opportunity to tell Mr Snowden that on her way to the airport she had received a call from the US Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr Snowden that the US Government does not categorise Mr Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law,” WikiLeaks said.
“This further proves the United States Government’s persecution of Mr Snowden and therefore that his right to seek and accept asylum should be upheld.”
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