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Obama on Snowden: US Following 'Appropriate Legal Channels'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday said the U.S. is following the appropriate legal channels in the case of fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom the White House believes is in Moscow.

“What we know is that we’re following all the appropriate legal channels and working with various other countries to make sure that rule of law is observed,” the president told reporters. “Beyond that, I’ll refer to the Justice Department that has been actively involved in the case.”

The president was responding to a reporter’s question about whether or not he has talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin to pressure him to release Snowden.

The brief remarks came at the top of the president’s White House meeting with CEOs and business leaders on immigration reform.

Snowden, the man who claims to have leaked a trove of classified information about U.S. spy programs, failed to board his flight from Moscow to Cuba on Monday, but is "in a safe place," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said.

Snowden, a 30-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency, twice checked in for a 6:05 a.m. ET flight from Moscow to Havana, but did not board the plane, according to ABC News reporters in Moscow and airport officials.

Over the weekend Snowden stunned U.S. officials by fleeing from Hong Kong, where he's been in hiding for weeks, for Moscow, despite the U.S. having filed charges against Snowden, including espionage and an extradition request made to Hong Kong.

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