Russia is Considering Extraditing Edward Snowden to the US

US intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a "gift" to President Donald Trump

Photo: AP

According to NBC News, a senior US official has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and said a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to "curry favor" with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.

Snowden's ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told NBC News they are unaware of any plans that would send him back to the United States. Snowden responded to NBC's report on Twitter and said it shows that he did not work with the Russian government.

Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said, "There are no reasons to extradite Edward Snowden to the US, and there is not the slightest reason to raise or discuss this topic in Russia."

The White House had no comment, but the Justice Department told NBC News it would welcome the return of Snowden, who currently faces federal charges that carry a minimum of 30 years in prison. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talk about returning Snowden is "nonsense."

Snowden was working as a contractor at a National Security Agency facility in Hawaii when he began stealing top-secret documents that he gave to journalists in 2013, exposing details of U.S. domestic surveillance programs.

After Snowden fled to Hong Kong and was charged with violating the U.S. Espionage Act, he ended up in Russia. Moscow granted him refuge and officials say his residency permit was recently extended until 2020.

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