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
National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

National

Missouri man charged with sexually torturing five women

A Missouri man has been charged with raping and torturing five women in a St. Louis-area apartment over several years, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Report: NYPD disbands controversial Muslim surveillance program

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the police unit behind NYPD's Muslim surveillance program was disbanded.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.