Over the weekend, Dick Cheney emerged from his lair, and staunchly defended the NSA surveillance programs that started under his tenure as Vice President, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that the programs could have stopped 9/11 had they been in effect. More to the point, Cheney shared his view of Edward Snowden, whom he accused of being a traitor and went so far as hinting that he could be a spy for China. "I'm suspicious because he went to China. That's not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth," Cheney said, adding: "It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this." The last statement finally generated an official response from China whose Foreign Ministry on Monday, which had been silent for the past week over all issues surrounding the whistleblower, denying Edward Snowden was a Chinese spy and said the United States should give the world an explanation regarding its international internet surveillance programme.
In its first official response to the recent exposure of the US National Security Agency’s internet surveillance programme by whistleblower Edward Snowden, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US should pay attention to concerns of the international community on the issue.
Hua, in her daily briefing in Beijing, also hit back at the allegation that Snowden could be a spy for China, calling it “sheer nonsense”.
Beijing has been tight lipped about the saga since Snowden revealed his identity to the media last week, only saying they have no information regarding the case.
But Hua said on Sunday that she is aware of media reports that saying Hong Kong citizens wanted Snowden to stay in the city, and that she is aware of the response of the Hong Kong government to the matter.
Half of Hong Kong people believe that cyberspying whistle-blower Edward Snowden should not be handed over if Washington makes a formal request for his return, according to an exclusive opinion poll commissioned by the Sunday Morning Post.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Saturday that "when the relevant mechanism is activated", the Hong Kong government would handle Snowden's case in accordance with the city's laws. He also said the government would follow up on any incidents related to the privacy or other rights of the institutions or people in Hong Kong being violated.
Of course, with Hong Kong's ultimate decisionmaking still made in Beijing, whatever China wants vis-a-vis Snowden, China gets. And just like Syria, the fate of the 29 year-old will almost certainly become yet another diplomatic fallout issue between the US and China.
And just for the nostalgic ones, here's Dick: