MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin bluntly rejected U.S. pleas to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Tuesday, saying Snowden is free to travel wherever he wants and insisting that Russian security agencies haven’t contacted him.
Snowden is in the transit zone of a Moscow airport and has not passed through Russian immigration, Putin said, meaning he is not technically in Russia.
After arriving Sunday on a flight from Hong Kong, Snowden booked a seat on a Havana-bound flight from Moscow on Monday en route to Venezuela and then possible asylum in Ecuador, but he didn’t board the plane.
Snowden’s whereabouts since then have been a mystery, and Putin’s comments were the first time Russia has made clear it knows where he is.
Speculation has been rife that Russian security agencies might want to keep Snowden in Russia for a more thorough debriefing, but Putin denied that.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Matti Huuhtanen.