News / Europe

Snowden Leaves Moscow Airport

An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.
An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.
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— Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has created an international uproar by leaking classified documents detailing massive Internet and telephone data surveillance programs.

After almost six weeks in the transit zone of a Moscow airport, Edward Snowden won asylum in Russia and left the airport Thursday for an undisclosed location in Moscow.

An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.
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An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.
An image taken from AP Television shows a copy of a temporary document that allows Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, August 1, 2013.
Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer, showed reporters Snowden’s asylum document. He said it was valid for one year and would allow the American fugitive to travel anywhere in Russia.
 
He said he could not say where Snowden is for safety reasons, adding that Snowden is the world's most wanted man.
 
Snowden, a former U.S. government computer expert, fled here from Hong Kong. He has been on the run for two months, after Britain’s Guardian newspaper started running articles based on thousands of files that Snowden says he downloaded from computers of the National Security Administration.
 
After the White House demanded the Russia return Snowden to the United States for trial, President Vladimir Putin said the American could remain in Russia only “if he stops harming our U.S. partners.”
 
But on Wednesday, the Guardian published a new story based on information leaked by Snowden, purporting to outline yet another secret NSA data collection program. On Thursday, Kucherena, the lawyer, said the newspaper received the documents from Snowden when he was in Hong Kong, before Russia’s president laid down asylum conditions.
 
In recent days, several Washington analysts have written that White House frustration over the Snowden affair is so high that President Barack Obama may not come to Moscow next month for a scheduled two-day summit with Putin.
 
After Snowden left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday, Yury Ushakov, a top Kremlin aide, downplayed this latest development. He told the Interfax news agency he saw no moves from Washington to cancel the Putin-Obama summit.

On Wednesday, Carnegie Moscow analyst Lilia Shevtsova said the Kremlin hopes the Snowden affair will not derail the summit.

"They definitely need Obama to come to Moscow in the fall, and so they would not like Snowden to prevent it," she said.
 
Last month, Obama telephoned Putin asking for Snowden’s return. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to the Russia’s justice minister, saying that the United States would not seek the death penalty against Snowden and that he would be granted a fair trial.
 
But Snowden’s determination to stay in Russia may have been strengthened on Monday, when U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, was convicted on 20 charges, ranging from theft to espionage. On Thursday, a sentencing hearing started in that case. Manning could be sentenced to up to 136 years in jail.
 
On Wednesday, Rossiya 24 TV broadcast an interview with Snowden’s father, Lon. He said: "I want to thank President Vladimir Putin for having the courage to keep my son safe."
 
Lon Snowden is applying for a visa to visit his son in Russia this month.
 
While the Kremlin harshly punishes its own leakers, Russia’s state media has been very supportive of Snowden’s asylum bid.
 
In a Levada Center poll released Wednesday, 51 percent of Russians approved of Snowden releasing information on U.S. internet surveillance programs. Forty-three percent favored granting asylum to the American.

Moscow traditionally welcomes former employees of Western intelligence agencies.  Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of Moscow granting Soviet citizenship to Kim Philby, the leader of a British spy ring for the Soviet Union. Philby died here in 1988, 25 years after his defection.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

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Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 03, 2013 8:16 AM
The US government should go ahead with his sentencing. His case is a case of unpatriotic felony and treason. Whether he deserves death penalty or not - whatever he deserves, let it be pronounced - he cannot be safe anywhere in the world, not even in Russia even though Russia wants to use him to establish a case of espionage, etc., against the US.

But was there really a leak... an espionage case established? Or is it an issue that the USA wants to use to scare future users of the phone and internet facilities from using those media to plan their activities. After all, how possible is it for the US secret service to track millions of calls that enter and leave the US per second on daily basis? How many staff does the department need to carry out such a function? I think the leak charge is a white elephant chase. At best, it is a distraction, even though I hate to see the face of a Snowden that carries out such a wicked act against his country doing its best to safeguard life and property.


by: Francisco from: Venezuela
August 01, 2013 1:25 PM
Dear Snowden, good day.

Asking for asylum to Venezuela would be the worst idea as Venezuela is not a country able to guarantee your life, just a example recall when the new Venezuela president, Nicolas Maduro was attacked into the Venezuela National assembly area somes moths ago, so what Venezuela goverment could offer to you ? .Take care.
Regards

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