Snowden gets asylum in Russia

Former United States intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and has left the Moscow airport where he has been holed in since last month following his expose of U.S. government snooping activities into people’s online communications.

“Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia for a year and has now left Moscow airport under the care of Wikileaks’s Sara Harrison,” a tweet on the whistleblower site read at around 5 a.m. today. Harrison is a member of the Wikileaks legal team helping Snowden.

Other news reports said that Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, confirmed the American had received the required documents for entering Russia from Sheremetyveo Airport’s transit zone. Despite the presence of many reporters, his departure went unnoticed.


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Kucherena said Snowden’s location is not being released for security purposes since he is “the most pursued man in the planet.”

Earlier this year, Snowden blew the lid off the NSA’s Prism program which was designed to gather online user data. Following the leak, it was made known that U.S. intelligence agencies are secretly empowered by law to compel American companies to release metadata on customers communications.

Snowden has gone into hiding soon after his expose. He gave media interview in Hong Kong and there were reports he tried to secure asylum from several countries before he turned up in Moscow in June 23.
Speaking at the Black Hat hacker convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday,NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander, defended the government’s surveillance activities in a 45-minute speech intermitently disrupted by hecklers. He did not mention the Snowden case but said data culled from the activies prevented 13 terror plots in the U.S., 25 in Europe, five in Africa and 11 in Asia. Alexander said “no names, addresses, or credit card numbers” are in the NSA database.

The U.S. government has charged Snowden with leaking detail of its electronic surveillance programs. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has given Moscow an assurance that Snowden will not face the death penalty he is extradited.

Russia said they do not intend to hand Snowden over to U.S. authorities.

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