Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed "never" to hand over former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the United States.
Despite requests from the White House that Snowden be extradited, Putin in a press conference Monday said the 30-year-old American could remain in Russia so long as he stopped leaking information "aimed at damaging our American partners, as odd as it may sound from me."
President Obama has tried to downplay the significance of his administration's efforts to retrieve Snowden, a message he repeated Monday during a press conference in Tanzania:
U.S. has gone through regular law enforcement channels to get Edward Snowden extradited from Russia, says President Obama #breaking— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) July 1, 2013
Putin insisted that no Russian security officials have been working with Snowden, and his conditional statement to the NSA leaker seems to underscore that claim. Yet if any further details emerge about the U.S. government's surveillance practices now, the Kremlin will have a hard time knowing if Snowden has continued leaking, or if media outlets are simply publishing more of what they already had. On Sunday, WikiLeaks' Julian Assange dropped hints that his organization might be preparing a release of its own.