NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who spent more than a month at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport before being granted a one-year asylum Thursday, has picked out a place to live in Russia, his attorney there says.
Snowden is wanted on charges of espionage by the United States for leaking classified documents about secret U.S. surveillance programs. His departure from the Moscow airport ended, temporarily at least, weeks of uncertainty over his fate. He had applied to several other countries for asylum, as well.
Edward Snowden has chosen where to live in Russia, which granted him asylum Thursday, his lawyer said. Here, Snowden is seen at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on July 12. At left is WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison.
Courtesy of Human Rights Watch
"He has decided about his accommodation, everything is fine," Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, tells Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Kucherena told reporters Thursday that Snowden's location would not be shared, calling him "one of the world's most wanted fugitives."
As for what his new neighbors might think of Snowden, Bloomberg News reports that President Vladimir Putin's choice to give the leaker a safe haven was welcomed by many Russians.
"The decision is backed by almost twice as many Russians as those against it and those who view Snowden's role as positive outnumber negative assessments three to one," according to Bloomberg.
In an interview with The New Republic, Kucherena says Snowden seemed to be in disbelief when he first heard he had been given asylum. And Kucherena, whom The New Republic's Julia Ioffe describes as "a hulk of a man with the broad face and straw hair of a Scythian peasant," says Snowden has already gotten job offers, from news and online companies.
Snowden's newly prolonged stay in Russia has frustrated U.S. officials, with the White House saying it is "extremely disappointed" that the country chose not to return him to the United States for prosecution.
"Mr. Snowden is not a whistle-blower. He's accused of leaking classified information," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. He added that as the date of President Obama's planned visit to Russia, for September's G-20 conference, approaches, the United States is "evaluating the utility of a summit."
Rights and political experts weighed in on Snowden's new status in Russia on Thursday, offering 3 Opinions On Whether Snowden Should Fight From Abroad, as Eyder reported for The Two-Way.
"While he's not doing himself any favors with being in Russia, the alternatives are not very pleasant," political science professor Jules Boykoff of Pacific University in Oregon said.