Snowden Granted One Year of Asylum in Russia

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In a move calculated to snub the Obama administration, officials in Russia have granted temporary asylum to security leaker Edward Snowden. Anatoly Kucharena, Snowden’s Moscow attorney, announced that the Russian government granted Snowden asylum for one year. In his statement, Kucharena said that his client was “in a safe place,” but would remain in hiding for the moment out of concern for his safety. Snowden is wanted in the US on espionage charges related to the vast amount of National Security Administration intelligence information he turned over to a UK newspaper reporter in June.
Russian officials say that Snowden is free to live and work anywhere in Russia and has the same rights as any Russian citizen. ┬áKremlin watchers, however, believe that Snowden is being controlled by intelligence officials and is being kept from the press to prevent him from discussing his experience during the 39 days he spent in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport waiting for asylum. Snowden’s lawyer denies this charge and says that his client will hold a press conference shortly.
The Kremlin denies that Snowden has been questioned by security services, but security experts consider that unlikely. One official stated that Russia’s intelligence services would never pass up an opportunity to interrogate a man believed to have vast amounts of classified information in his possession.
Andrei Soldatov, a Russian journalist, says concerns for Snowden’s safety are a ruse to keep him hidden. “We are all perfectly aware that Snowden, who has just received asylum, does not face any danger in Russia,” Soldatov said. “American intelligence does not kidnap or assassinate people in Russia, that’s a fact. This is a just a pretext.”
US intelligence officials are skeptical of how much freedom Snowden will have even with his asylum protection. Most are certain that he will be tightly monitored and controlled by Putin’s security team and he will have few choices in his employment or access to outside media.
The Obama administration reacted to the news Thursday with an announcement that it had cancelled the upcoming summit between Mr. Obama and Putin.
In a move calculated to snub the Obama administration, officials in Russia have granted temporary asylum to security leaker Edward Snowden. Anatoly Kucharena, Snowden’s Moscow attorney, announced that the Russian government granted Snowden asylum for one year. In his statement, Kucharena said that his client was “in a safe place,” but would remain in hiding for the moment out of concern for his safety. Snowden is wanted in the US on espionage charges related to the vast amount of National Security Administration intelligence information he turned over to a UK newspaper reporter in June.
Russian officials say that Snowden is free to live and work anywhere in Russia and has the same rights as any Russian citizen. ┬áKremlin watchers, however, believe that Snowden is being controlled by intelligence officials and is being kept from the press to prevent him from discussing his experience during the 39 days he spent in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport waiting for asylum. Snowden’s lawyer denies this charge and says that his client will hold a press conference shortly.
The Kremlin denies that Snowden has been questioned by security services, but security experts consider that unlikely. One official stated that Russia’s intelligence services would never pass up an opportunity to interrogate a man believed to have vast amounts of classified information in his possession.
Andrei Soldatov, a Russian journalist, says concerns for Snowden’s safety are a ruse to keep him hidden. “We are all perfectly aware that Snowden, who has just received asylum, does not face any danger in Russia,” Soldatov said. “American intelligence does not kidnap or assassinate people in Russia, that’s a fact. This is a just a pretext.”
US intelligence officials are skeptical of how much freedom Snowden will have even with his asylum protection. Most are certain that he will be tightly monitored and controlled by Putin’s security team and he will have few choices in his employment or access to outside media.
The Obama administration reacted to the news Thursday with an announcement that it had cancelled the upcoming summit between Mr. Obama and Putin.

 

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