US fumes as Russia grants Snowden asylum

US fumes as Russia grants Snowden asylum

Summary: Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport where he was marooned for more than five weeks, after Russia granted him one year's asylum.

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Snowden slipped out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday in a cloak-and-dagger operation overseen by his Russian lawyer, but unnoticed by the hordes of media trying to follow his every move.

The White House said it is "extremely disappointed" that the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was given asylum, and that it would now review plans for a US-Russia presidential summit in September.

Snowden, 30, is wanted on felony charges by the US after leaking sensational details of American surveillance programs, but Russia has refused to extradite him.

The fugitive was whisked away in a taxi at about 2pm local time, leaving his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena to reveal that he had received asylum in Russia for one year.

Kucherena, who helped Snowden make his asylum application on July 16, told AFP that Snowden's new place of residence would be kept secret for security "since he is the most pursued man on the planet".

The lawyer said Snowden would eventually give interviews to the press, but that he first requires an "adaptation course" after spending so long in the transit zone.

Unspecified "American friends" would assist him in Russia, Kucherena added.

Snowden has been staying in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport north of Moscow since he flew in from Hong Kong on June 23. Until now, he had never formally crossed the Russian border.

The awarding of his asylum status came two days after US soldier Bradley Manning was convicted of espionage for leaking US secrets to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks, which has supported Snowden, said on Twitter that Snowden is still "under the care" of WikiLeaks British staffer Sarah Harrison, who flew in with him from Hong Kong and is believed to have been with him ever since.

VKontakte founder offers Snowden a job

The founder of Russia's most popular social network VKontakte offered a job to Edward Snowden on Thursday, after the US intelligence leaker left a Moscow airport with his new asylum papers.

"Today, Edward Snowden, the man who has exposed the crimes of American security services against the world's citizens, received temporary asylum in Russia," 28-year-old Pavel Durov, who co-founded the network in 2006, wrote on his VKontakte page.

"We invite Edward to Petersburg and will be happy if he decides to join the dream team of VKontakte programmers."

Durov's young age and sometimes extravagant statements have earned him comparisons with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"No other internet company in Europe is more popular than VK," Durov said, referring to the shortened name of the social network, which boasts 210 million registered users and is based in Saint Petersburg.

"I think Edward would be interested in working on security of personal data of the millions of our users."

Topics: Privacy, Government US, Security

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17 comments
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  • Russians thumbing their noses at the weakest president in American history,

    while saying, "whatcha gonna do, huh?!?"

    They saw what Obama did, or failed to do, in Benghazi, and so did a lot of other enemies of the U.S.
    adornoe@...
    • ZZZZzzzzzz

      Better than warm milk.....
      RickLively
      • Yes

        That's exactly what Obama and the rest of the Dems did about Benghazi, Sleep!

        Don't worry midterm elections are coming and so is the end of this frauds leadership.
        slickjim
        • frauds leadership never ends

          Have you been born just yesterday? The reps usually manage to f*&ck things up to even greater extremes.
          eulampius
          • You must be living in an alternate reality world, since, it's democrats

            and idiots like Obama who always eff-up things, and then it's republicans who have to fix all the problems which those idiots create.

            Obama is just like or worse than Carter, and Carter left an economy in shambles, and a foreign policy which created which had our enemies emboldened and our friends wondering if America was done. It took Reagan and republicans to fix the country again, and the country regained stature and respect in the world, and the economy was brought roaring back from despair. Obama is like Carter, but perhaps even worse, and it's going to take a republican to fix things, since democrats don't have any answers and just propose to make things worse. Even Bush (Jr) had to rebuild the economy which Clinton left in recession when he left, and Bush's economy saw the greatest economic recovery ni modern times. The only thing which brought down the economy in 2007-2008, was the stupid CRA, which was, again!, more stupidity from democrats, and the policies advocated by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which were, again, carrying out economic policies created by democrats.

            The U.S. would be a much better off country if the democratic party were to disappear from the face of the planet.
            adornoe@...
      • Yep! That's what Obama is counting on,

        for people like you to continue snoozing, while he continues to destroy the country.
        adornoe@...
    • weakest you say?

      If he went to Iraq, he'd be the strongest? What is he gonna do about Snowden's asylum? Believe me, Russia hates America even more than America hates Russia. So even if he were a really bad guy, Putin wouldn't give'm away.
      It wasn't Obama's fault, BTW. Rather some previous history of the relations between the two super powers. I'd blame them both for that.

      It's still good to see the counterbalance in action. Thanks to this animosity , Snowden might have a chance.
      eulampius
      • more likely

        Putin waited long enough to see if the USA has anything to offer in exchange of Snowden. You see, both sides could care less what happens to that man (and he is dead at the end, no matter what).

        But the USA ignoring that Russia is actually an superpower, was plain stupid. They can't just demand Snowden, offer nothing in return and expect Russia will obey "because we said so".

        Ultimately, both sides do not care about the freedoms of any citizen.
        danbi
      • Obama is the weakes president ever, and going to Iraq is

        something that would be inconceivable under Obama.

        In fact, being strong, anywhere in the world, is way beyond his capabilities, and he's no better at "presidenting" 'than any 5th grade student in the country.

        He commands no respect anywhere, and Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of that fact, and so is Putin and all of America's enemies. Weakness always invites aggression from our enemies, and that is being demonstrated as we speak.

        Now, go back and hide under that rock you came out of .
        adornoe@...
  • Shoot The Messenger

    Villify and persecute Manning and Snowden for exposing the abuses, do nothing about the actual perpetrators of those abuses.

    This is how a glorious freedom-loving nation behaves? You make me want to puke.
    ldo17
    • Neither Manning nor Snowden are any kiind of hero, but,

      I'm still against the U.S. spying on its citizens.
      adornoe@...
  • Hey

    Better a free man in a Dangerous land than locked up in the land of the free!

    Remember when we were the land of the free and these spy's had to do things the old fashioned way?
    slickjim
    • Russia

      Russia might in fact be safer place to live, than the US.
      danbi
      • Tell that to the millions who died under the communist rule, and,

        even today, there are millions of people in Russia living in fear of persecution, just for trying to say things that the government people deem "unsavory".
        adornoe@...
  • Errrr.....

    Expect a group of CIA hitmen to find out where he is in Russia and take him out. Corruption is king in Russia. Anyone can be bribed.
    Gisabun
    • No need for CIA hitmen, since Snowden will be living

      under "less than desirable" conditions.

      Initially, he won't be much of a problem and he'll be seen as just a defector who chose Russia over the U.S., but eventually, and after he's out of the spotlight, his life will become hell. He might even want to ask the U.S. to take him back even at the cost of imprisonment.
      adornoe@...
  • Information

    The Russians will squeeze him like a grape for every scrap of info he has. That is why the asylum is only for a year. That is more than enough time.
    calfee20