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Edward Snowden leaves Moscow Airport

By
Kristen Butler, UPI.com
Edward Snowden. (Freedom of the Press Foundation/YouTube)
Edward Snowden. (Freedom of the Press Foundation/YouTube)

Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden has left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after being granted temporary political asylum for one year, Russian media reports.

A Russian lawyer representing Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, handed over papers from the Russian Immigration Service on Thursday, and said that Snowden's whereabouts will not be revealed.

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"He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority," Kucherena said. "He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer."

Kucherena said that after an initial period of privacy, Snowden does intend to speak to the Russian press.

The former CIA employee and NSA contractor leaked documents detailing widespread NSA data surveillance. He fled first to Hong Kong, then flew to Moscow on June 23.

Russia was intended to be a stopover, possibly on his way to Ecuador, but the U.S. revoked his passport, leaving him stranded in the airport's international transit zone.

In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, until he could reach one of the countries offering permanent asylum. The temporary asylum will allow Snowden to live and work in Russia for one year.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed U.S. demands to turn Snowden over to face charges of theft and espionage. Putin said that Snowden could stay in Russia on the condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Snowden accepted the condition.

Kucherena reportedly said the fugitive whistleblower will consider securing permanent residency in Russia.

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