Russia is reportedly planning to hand over Edward Snowden to U.S. as a ‘gift’ to president Donald Trump. Trump had said the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower deserves to be executed for being a spy, according to a senior American intelligence official.
NBC News reported that a senior U.S. official has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations. He believes that a Snowden handover is one of Russia’s various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump.
The site mentions that a second source in the intelligence community has confirmed the Russian conversations. Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told the aforementioned site that they do not have any knowledge of such plans that would send him back to the U.S. “Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern,” Wizner said.
Edward Snowden Not Afraid
Snowden responded to the report through tweet and said it shows that he did not work with the Russian government. “Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel,” Snowden said. “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”
He also mentioned in one of his tweets that he is not afraid of the rumors. He said that he is unsure of the reports that are circulating around but he has nothing to fear.
Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next. https://t.co/YONqZ1gYqm
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 10, 2017
I don’t know if the rumors are true. But I can tell you this: I am not afraid. There are things that must be said no matter the consequence.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 11, 2017
Edward Snowden To Go Back
Snowden was working as an NSA contractor at facility in Hawaii. He then began stealing top-secret documents and gave them to journalists in 2013. Thus, exposing details of U.S. domestic surveillance programs.
Snowden faced charges with violating the U.S. Espionage Act after he fled to Hong Kong. Later he ended up in Russia. Moscow granted him refuge and officials say his residency permit was recently extended until 2020.
Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena thinks Russia does not have any reasons to extradite Edward Snowden to the U.S. He also said that Russia dos not sell people. “The Snowden issue cannot be a bargaining chip on any level, neither political nor economic,” he said.
Former deputy national security adviser Juan Zarate believes that U.S. should be cautious while accepting Snowden. Russia, according to him, has already extracted all the information it needed from the whistleblower. And though it looks likes a sign of warmer relations, it could spark controversies in the United States.