Russian president Vladimir Putin stated this morning that he will not extradite Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor is wanted for espionage in the U.S. Putin further confirmed that Snowden was at a Moscow airport.
In the last few weeks, Snowden released information about U.S. government surveillance programs as well as hacking efforts that resulted in over 60,000 hacks in China. He then fled his home of Hawaii to hide out in Hong Kong. The surveillance program is called PRISM, and it includes data collection from seven top tech companies such as Google, AOL, Yahoo, Facebook, and others.
Last week, the U.S. charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport, hoping the Hong Kong government would extradite him to the U.S. It didn’t, and Snowden reportedly reached out to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who arranged for Snowden to travel on an alternative document for refugees.
Putin explained to a Russian publication that the country will not extradite Snowden because he has not committed a crime in the country. He also said that the U.S. and Russia do not share an extradition agreement that would otherwise compel Russia to hand him over. Furthermore, Putin said that Russian officials will not question Snowden.
Snowden is reportedly attempting to get to Cuba, where he will then reportedly head to a country where he can take political asylum. Assange, who is facing a similar extradition, is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It is possible Snowden could go to Ecuador, which has already shown sympathy for those facing extradition to the United States.
hat tip New York Times