Snowden leaves Moscow airport, gets Russian refugee status

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6. Credit: Reuters
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has made his stay in Russia a bit more official.
Credit: Reuters

Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after Russia granted him temporary asylum, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.

A Russian lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the American, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of secret government intelligence programs, had gone to a secure location which would remain secret.

After weeks of staying out of sight from hordes of reporters, Snowden managed to slip away in a taxi without being spotted. Grainy images of his passport showed he had been granted asylum for a year from July 31.

“He is the most wanted man on planet Earth. What do you think he is going to do? He has to think about his personal security. I cannot tell you where he is going,” his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Reuters.

“I put him in a taxi 15 to 20 minutes ago and gave him his certificate on getting refugee status in the Russian Federation,” he said. “He can live wherever he wants in Russia. It’s his personal choice.”

He said Snowden was not going to stay at any embassy in Moscow, although three Latin American countries have offered to shelter him. Snowden was well, he added.

Snowden was accompanied by Sarah Harrison, a representative of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which confirmed he had left the airport.

“We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle — now the war,” WikiLeaks said on Twitter.

Snowden, 30, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela have offered him refuge, but there are no direct commercial flights to Latin America and he was concerned the United States would intercept his flight to prevent him reaching his destination.

Snowden’s case has caused new strains in relations between Russia and the United States, which wants him extradited to face espionage charges.

The White House has signaled that President Barack Obama could consider boycotting a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in early September.

But a senior Kremlin official said ties between Russia and the United States would not suffer because of what he said was a “relatively insignificant” case.

“Our president has … expressed hope many times that this will not affect the character of our relations,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s top foreign policy adviser, told reporters.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…