Russia rebuffs US on Snowden’s right to asylum

Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum here.

The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite.

“He will not be sent out of Russia,” Mr. Pushkov said. “It will be up to Snowden.”

He added that Mr. Snowden’s father believes his son could not get a fair trial in the United States.

Mr. Pushkov made his comments came against a backdrop of broad criticism of the American spying programs that have come to light since the summer. He pointed to the sheer volume of information that American authorities are able to gather.

“The U.S. has created a Big Brother system,” Mr. Pushkov said.

American participants on the panel continued to criticize Mr. Snowden for leaking information about the surveillance.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, argued that Mr. Snowden should be convicted. “Mr. Snowden violated an oath, and that is a fact,” he said. “The damage that has been done has been exaggerated, because we’re hearing it from Mr. Snowden.”

The remark drew criticism from Mr. Pushkov, who said that the courts must review the evidence first.

Jane Harman, a Democrat and former House member from California, said Mr. Snowden should stand trial. She also defended some of the work that the intelligence community had done, pointing to what has been described as the disruption of 54 potential terrorist plots.

But she added that some changes to the data-gathering initiatives were warranted. “Do we need to change the system?” she said. “I think we should.”

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