– Russia says U.S. hypocritical on Edward Snowden (Politico, July 23, 2013):
Russian officials are pushing back against U.S. calls to hand over NSA leaker Edward Snowden, saying the U.S. routinely ignores Russian extradition requests.
“The United States is repeatedly refusing Russia to extradite individuals, to hold them criminally liable, including those accused of committing serious or heinous crimes,” Sergei Gorlenko, the acting chief of the prosecutor general’s extradition office, told the Interfax news agency. “We have been denied the extradition of murderers, bandits and bribetakers.”
“Law agencies asked the U.S. on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to,” Andrey Pilipchuk, spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry, said on Monday, according to Russia Today.
Senior Russian officials have given no indication they will extradite Snowden, a possible payback for years of the U.S. refusing to extradite about 20 suspects over the past decade, The New York Times reports. The U.S. and Russia do not have an extradition treaty.The American ambassador to Russia took to Twitter yesterday to reiterate the U.S. position on Snowden.
“Mr. Snowden ought to be returned to the United States to face the felony charges against him,” Michael McFaul tweeted on Monday. On Tuesday, McFaul tweeted links to the Whistleblower Protection Act signed into law last year.
A U.S. official familiar with the government’s security review of the leak said that Snowden did not gain access to the “crown jewels” of NSA programs, CNN reported on Monday.
The damage assessment indicates the former NSA contractor did not gain access to “extremely compartmentalized information.”
Snowden may leave the airport in Moscow he’s been holed up in for a month as soon as Wednesday. He is applying for temporary asylum in Russia and has indicated he will cooperate with Russian requests he stop leaking sensitive U.S. government information in exchange for asylum.