Would the US swap Russian for Snowden?

Would the U.S. try to swap a captured Russian hacker for famed leaker Edward Snowden?

That’s the theory being floated by the alleged cyber criminal's father, Valery Seleznev, a Russian lawmaker.  

Seleznev’s son, Roman, was nabbed by U.S. officials earlier this year while on vacation in Maldives and extradited to Seattle.


He’s facing charges he hacked into numerous business, pizza joints, banks — even the Phoenix Zoo. Over a period of several years, Roman Seleznev made millions from stolen credit card numbers, according to the U.S. government.

“[The U.S.] managed somehow to falsify the accusations against my son, Roman, and they had certain hopes that the exchange of Roman Seleznev for Snowden was possible," his father said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Lawmakers and U.S. officials are pointing to Seleznev’s arrest and extradition as part of the country’s efforts to bolster punishments for foreign hackers.  

“Cyber crooks should take heed: you cannot hide behind distant keyboards,” warned U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan, who leads a panel on cybercrime and intellectual property, when the Justice Department announced the arrest. “We will bring you to face justice.”

“It shows full incompetence of U.S. secret services,” Valery Seleznev said.

The U.S. dumped massive resources into its efforts to get a bargaining chip for Snowden, “but this kind of exchange is not possible,” he added. “Snowden was not arrested in Russia, we do not accuse him of anything, he just asked for asylum in Russia and we met his desire to stay in the Russian federation.”

Roman Seleznev faces several decades in prison if found guilty on all counts.