U.S. officials on Tuesday challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow’s hands are tied when it comes to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, saying there is a “clear legal basis” to turn him over.
Putin confirmed earlier Tuesday that Snowden is at the Moscow airport. He said, though, that not only is Snowden in the transit zone, but since Snowden has not committed a crime in Russia, the government will not extradite him back — as requested — to the United States.
Putin, speaking at a press conference in Finland, also said he hopes the Snowden case will not affect relations with the United States. He then dismissed U.S. accusations against Russia over the Snowden case as “rubbish,” and added that Russian security agencies “didn’t work and aren’t working” with Snowden.