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US explanation needed

(China Daily)

09:13, June 26, 2013

From WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the United States appears to be at its wit's end on how to put a lid on the damning leaks by whistleblowers. Each time, by hook or by crook, it tries to catch and incriminate the whistleblower without addressing the core issues that have been exposed. This is not a responsible approach to such crises.

Uncle Sam is criticizing others for not answering its calls to hand over the ex-CIA employee. On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney went even further, saying that the government's "deliberate choice" to let Snowden leave the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was a "serious setback" for US efforts to forge relations of trust with China.

Such remarks are unacceptable as well as absurd. The US has no reason to complain about the HKSAR government's lawful handling of the case, which it outlined in a clear statement on Sunday.

Against the backdrop that Snowden's leaks also include claims that the mainland and the HKSAR are among the victims of the US' security programs, it is even more absurd for the US government to make a link between the Snowden case and China-US ties in the first place.

By pointing an accusing finger at others, Washington may be trying to divert the world's attention, as Snowden has made explosive claims about the US National Security Agency's secret phone and Internet surveillance program, which involves various countries and Internet users worldwide.

It is understandable that the US is desperate to put out the fire that Snowden's leaks have ignited. But it needs to address global concerns on whether and to what extent the US security programs have infringed on the rights and interests of others.

No matter where its crisis management leads, the US government has an obligation to give a rational response to Snowden's claims. And this should be done as soon as possible, as it concerns the interests of many in the world arena.

The US also needs to convince others that it is not taking advantage of its Internet superiority to do harm to others. It should shore up the political will to learn a lesson from the Snowden case and rein in the hacking and espionage programs run by its security apparatus in the name of national security and anti-terrorism.

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