Russia grants Snowden three-year residence

Russia grants Snowden three-year residence

Summary: Snowden's Russian lawyer says the former US intelligence contractor will be free to travel abroad under the terms of a residency permit he has received.

TOPICS: Security, Privacy

Fugitive US intelligence operative Edward Snowden has been granted a three-year residence permit in Russia, his Russian lawyer says.

"The request was accepted and accordingly Edward Snowden was given a three-year residence permit" which allows him to move about freely and travel abroad, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told journalists.

"In the future Edward will have to decide whether to continue to live in Russia and become a citizen or to return to the United States," Kucherena added.

The 31-year-old US fugitive is wanted in the United States on espionage charges.

Special Feature

IT Security in the Snowden Era

IT Security in the Snowden Era

The Edward Snowden revelations have rocked governments, global businesses, and the technology world. When we look back a decade from now, we expect this to be the biggest story of 2013. Here is our perspective on the still-unfolding implications along with IT security and risk management best practices.

He was granted leave to stay in Russia a year ago after spending weeks in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport when his passport was revoked on his way to South America.

The leaks by the former National Security Agency contractor last year sparked a massive row over the data sweeps conducted by the United States domestically and in allied nations, including of their leaders.

Snowden has led a reclusive life in Moscow, only giving a handful of interviews and making no public appearances, although several sightings in Moscow have been reported by Russian media.

Snowden is "working within his profession," Kucherena said, but has also been helping as a rights defender.

Kucherena denied that Snowden is chaperoned by Russia's security services, saying he only has a private security detail.

"All security questions Edward decides himself," Kucherena said.

On Tuesday pro-Kremlin website Life News ran a close-up picture of a smiling Snowden wearing a suit and sitting near a gilded pillar, saying it was taken at the historic Bolshoi theatre during an opera in July.

Assange urges safety for Snowden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden to watch his "physical security" if he travels abroad after Russia gave him a residence permit.

"Of course our advice is that he be extremely cautious in doing so for his physical security," Assange, a Snowden supporter, said in a videoconference held at a freedom of speech forum in Mexico City.

Appearing with a beard and long white hair, Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for more than two years as he fights a Swedish arrest warrant over sexual assault allegations.

The 43-year-old Australian fears that if he goes to Sweden he will be sent to the United States to face charges for publishing classified material.

Topics: Security, Privacy

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Give me a break.

    "have rocked governments, global businesses, and the technology world." REALLY!!! so no one knew governments spy on people.? Give me a break. And we dont have dirty politicians either. Snowden is a traitor, plain and simple. I wonder what the physical condition of this idiot will be if it was from Russia. Because we all know that Russia does not spy either.
    • WHO the US spys on is the issue

      Other than the 5 eyes the US spys on every country. Every other country does it also so certainly no one can point the finger although it is embarrassing to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

      However, the US government is NOT supposed to be spying on it's own citizens! That's why people here are up in arms in case you've been living under a rock. And don't tell me you have nothing to hide so it's Ok to surrender your civil liberties to the government. You should be outraged that the government has violated your privacy and your right to Due Process! Take away our freedoms and the terrorists have already won!

      Snowden is a patriot. He derived no benefit and gave up a cushy life in Hawaii to expose this travesty! Would you have the courage to do that?
      • Snowden is a coward

        A true patriot would face his accusers and let the court of law decide. He knows that he maliciously invaded the network, and copied many files. You do not know what benefits he has been given in Russia (like a free home, etc), so lay off the fake sympathy.

        Every government has been spying on its citizens since time forgotten. This should not be news to anybody. Your ire would be better placed at nullification of the poorly named Patriot Act. For this, we are absolutely in agreement. We should be working toward that common goal than the useless Snowden division.
        • Fake?

          "so lay off the fake sympathy." I assure you there is nothing "fake" about my sympathy for Snowden.

          I agree Snowden would have blustered his claims if he had stayed to face the music. However, he says he was afraid for his life. And given what we know about what our government has pulled in the name of "protecting the American people" he might have been correct to fear for it. Even if his life wasn't in danger would he have gotten a fair trial in an open court? To defend himself he would need to present classified information that the government would forbid from being presented.

          Yes, the Patriot Act needs to go. It's the underpinning of all the trappings of legality the government insulates itself with.
        • So much for "American exceptionalism"

          "Every government has been spying on its citizens since time forgotten."

          As true as that might be now, that wasn't the way it was supposed to be with us! We are one of the few countries in the world that was founded on an idea and not on geography. We are one of the few with a written Constitution, and we were founded on the idea of limited government and individual liberty.

          Regardless of what every other country does, WE are supposed to be different. WE are supposed to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

          A country cannot be an empire and expect to remain a republic. Empires create enemies because they foist themselves on people who do not welcome them and bend them to their will by force. Republics are the envy of freedom-loving people around the world because their citizens enjoy a limited unintrusive government which serves its people rather than demanding that its people serve it.

          Our government may claim to be a republic, but a republic does not mistrust its citizens to the extent that it spies on their communications and represses their peaceful interactions. The citizens of a republic don't fear their government, but the citizens of an empire have every reason to mistrust their government.

          A person can be a patriot of the American Republic or a patriot of the American Empire; he/she can't be a patriot of both. I would prefer that our government were a beacon of liberty to the entire world rather than a military entity to be feared -- by its own citizens as well as by outsiders.
          sissy sue
          • Two kinds of exceptionalism

            The first, which damages our relationship with the rest of the world asserts that the USA isn't bound by the same rules other countries are (this was a big problem in the Bush, Jr. years; but still a problem now, even now). The second stresses what we publicly stand for and the need to live up to it, possibly adding to it the unique responsibilities we have as a superpower. Says me, the the second is what we should be stressing; the first should be repudiated. Few people or nations resent responsible leadership, but it is natural for subjects to resent their masters (especially selfish ones).

            The greatest service Thomas Jefferson ever performed for his country was to write the Declaration of Independence, as it tells the world what we stand for, causing us to be reproached every time we fail to live up to it (a definite benefit).
            John L. Ries
      • Snowden is a traitor

        Sorry, you are not majorly cool, you are majorly ill-informed. I think the NSA was doing some things they shouldn't have been doing, but also doing a lot of the right things to keep us safe. Now they are probably not doing the things they should to protect us from terrorists. If Snowden had legitimate issues there are ways he could have brought them to light - even if it cost him his job - without giving national security secrets away. Shame on him.
        • Who's ill-informed?

          Why did Obama recommend NSA reforms since Snowden's revelations hit? Answer is because Americans don't like having their liberties infringed. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin - 1755

          The bipartisan 9/11 commission concluded that US Intelligence/Law Enforcement had all the necessary pieces of the puzzle but the biggest obstacle to putting it all together was hoarding of information as the various agencies protected their turf. Our intelligence agencies/law enforcement agencies do not need more power to spy on Americans.

          You have to realize that everything the government has done and is doing is technically "legal" given the framework of the Patriot Act and FISA. Who could Snowden have gone too other than the press and not been suppressed?
          • the "reforms" may or may not

            actually be or do anything.
        • Snowden is a patriot

          Anyone who would give up their freedom to gain safety deserves neither.

          The activities of the U.S. intelligence agencies which Snowden exposed are both illegal and immoral. They directly violate the Constitution. They also violate international treaties we have signed. Snowden saw crimes taking place and notified the only people who could possibly do anything about it - the citizens of the U.S. By calling Snowden a traitor, you are literally endorsing the idea of executing witnesses for reporting crimes. There were "traitors" in the Mafia, too. They got the same sort of trial that Snowden would get from the criminals who are running our nation - a bullet in the back of the head.

          The term "national security" has been twisted by the criminals running our nation to mean "anything which threatens the government." It is supposed to mean protecting the citizens of the nation from any threat, including the government. The Constitution was designed specifically to protect us from an intrusive government. Unfortunately, mindless sheeple have been manipulated by fear mongering politicians into giving up those Constitutional protections. These sheeple are embracing a slow slide into totalitarianism in exchange for the illusion of safety. The truth is, our own government is more of a threat to us than any terrorist organization out there. Even kitchen knives are statistically a much bigger threat than any terrorist organization. Do you live your life in fear of those?

          Think for yourselves. Research your actual risks. Research the details of exactly WHY this nation was created and the reasons they carefully worded the Constitution like they did. Get educated before joining government prompted lynch mobs. The government is not the nation. We are. The government is committing crimes against "We the People." That is the definition of "traitor." Ask yourself, "Why are the simple-minded calling for the head of the witness who reported the crimes of our traitorous government?"
          • Snowden is a True Patriot and a hero

            He did the right thing but unfortunately he is now paying the consonances for doing the right thing. With the dysfunctional justice system in the US, he will never get justice in the US therefore has no choice in the matter. The real criminals in this matter are still in the US. The ones in the Bush administration that allowed the law interpretations, which in turn freed up the NSA. The PBS Frontline documentary did an excellent job in laying out the time line. Watch it before you respond!! Maybe you will be enlightened?
        • His known acts do not match the constitutional definition of treason

          As far as any of us know, he hasn't made war on the US and has not adhered to its enemies (giving aid and comfort is a modifier on the latter). His disclosures may or may not have been the right thing to do, but at most, he's guilty of violating the Espionage Act, not treason.
          John L. Ries
      • Founding Fathers understood the danger of Government spying on its citizens

        It appears that the Founding Fathers had a much better grasp on the concept of governmental overreach than the average armchair quarterback we see in most of these posts. The Founding Fathers found it to be such a major issue that they addressed it in the U.S. Constitution. So sad that the Average American has become so dumbed down that they think just because they have nothing to hide that it's not a real issue except for those that are involved in illegal activities. Otherwise they'd also see the Patriotism of Edward Snowden to risk his life and reputation to let the American People know what is taking place in the NSA in regards to spying on all Americans. I'm sure Russia is not where Snowden wants to live but it would be dangerous in so many ways for him to ever return to the U.S.
        • So the only reason why anyone would disagree with you...

 because they've been brainwashed? Or maybe because they're stupid (or merely undereducated)?

          There are a fair number of Americans who feel the same way about their own opinions. Personally, I think the attitude is just plain arrogant.
          John L. Ries
      • ...Nah

        Despite the constant misrepresentation of the content of these leaks by a technologically illiterate media, reading them only makes me proud that America's security community was as careful and mindful of our rights as they actually were. So, no, I don't consider Snowden's leaks justified, and I certainly wouldn't call him a "patriot." Nor would I call him a "traitor"; because, really, he's just a poor, paranoid man who would find a conspiracy in a bowl of Wheaties, whose tinfoil hat *should* have been noticed long before the job offer.
  • Looks like...

    ...the Russian government is putting off making a final decision on Snowden as long as possible. The advantage to not giving him permanent residency is that Snowden knows that renewal is dependent on his continuing to not doing anything to offend his hosts.

    Don't look for Greenwald to publish any dirt on the Russians that Snowden might have given him.
    John L. Ries
  • Missed that until just now

    Edward Snowden has not been, as far as the public has any knowledge, an intelligence operative. He was a system administrator for a spook agency, not an intelligence operative (that title should be reserved for spies in the field, not the support staff back at the office).
    John L. Ries