Russia has extended asylum for U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden for two years, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

The decision was made in defiance of a recent statement by former CIA deputy director Michael Morell that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a great opportunity to extradite Snowden as a “perfect inauguration gift” to President-elect Donald Trump.

“The essence of what the former CIA man is offering is the ideology of betrayal,” Zakharova said on Facebook.

“What you have leaked, Mr. Morell, makes now clear to everybody that for your office it is normal to present gifts in the form of people and extradite those seeking protection,” she added.

Snowden, a computer professional who had done contractual work for the U.S. National Security Agency, fled to Russia in 2013 after revealing thousands of classified documents to the press. He was wanted by Washington on charges of espionage.

Russian authorities initially granted him asylum for one year before a three-year extension.

Source: Xinhua/


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