Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong.
(Photo: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says Russia has a "clear legal basis" to expel National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and is asking them to do so without delay.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says even without an extradition treaty, Russia should expel him to face espionage charges in the United States.
Hayden's statement Tuesday came after Russian President Vladimir Putin bluntly rejected the request for extradition and said Snowden is free to travel wherever he wants.
Hayden said the White House agrees with Putin that they don't want the issue to negatively impact their bilateral relations. But she said they are asking for Snowden's extradition to build upon their law enforcement cooperation, particularly since the Boston Marathon bombing.