Main | Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Putin: Russia Won't Extradite Snowden

Russian President Vladimir Putin today confirmed news reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden is presently in a Moscow airport. However Putin said that Snowden is a "free person" and that Russia will not comply with US requests that he be arrested and extradited.
"In the territory of Russia, Mr. Snowden committed no crimes," Putin said. "Mr. Snowden is a free person. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for us and for him." Putin confirmed that Snowden is in the transit zone of a Moscow airport and has not technically crossed the border in Russia. Even if he had, Putin said Russia and the U.S. don't have a relevant extradition treaty and that any accusations leveled at the Kremlin for not grabbing Snowden were "gibberish" and "nonsense."

Just hours before Putin's comments top U.S. officials warned Russia to turn over the former contractor for the National Security Agency. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday it would be "very disappointing" if Snowden was "willfully allowed to board an airplane... and there would be without any question some effect on the relationship and consequences." Today the Secretary said that even though Russia and the U.S. do not have a standard extradition treaty, there were still "standards of behavior" between sovereign nations and the request for Snowden was "normal and basic."
According to ABC News, US agents believe Snowden is traveling with four laptops "full of US government secrets."

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