Edward Snowden, former contract employee that worked at the U.S. National Security Agency, who admitted to leaking top secret information regarding PRISM to the media has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.
While working at the Hawaii branch of NSA, Snowden copied top secret documents, informed his supervisor that he was taking two weeks leave for treatment of epilepsy, traveled to Hong Kong because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent,” later departed Hong Kong for Russia, and until Thursday resided in the Moscow Airport’s transit zone.
According to Attorney Anatoly Kucherena, who appeared on Russian broadcasts, Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia for one year. Kucherena also show a scanned copy of an official document showing Snowden’s approved asylum request. Kucherena reported that Snowden was in a save place, but would not disclose where he was.
In other reports, Wikileaks released a statement on their site from Snowden in which he thanked Russia for granted his asylum and criticized the Obama administration for having no respect for the law.
“In the end the law is winning,” said Snowden.
Snowden was stranded in the Moscow Airport’s transit zone since he arrived there on June 23. He left the airport on Thursday morning headed to an undisclosed place.
While Snowden is free to roam Russia, the temporary asylum does not grant him the right to leave there, according to CBS News Moscow bureau chief Svetlana Berdnikova.
In other reports, Ron Snowden, the father of Snowden, publicly thank Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for the “courage” they have shown in protecting his son.
Ron Snowden also sent a message to his via the broadcast.
“Your family is well and we love you.” He added that “I hope to see you soon, but most of all I want you to be safe.”
In another report, Ron Snowden informed the Washington Post of the FBI’s request for him to travel to Russia in an attempt to convince his son to return to the U.S. Ron refused the FBI’s request because they would not guarantee him access to Edward. Ron felt that they wanted to use him as an “emotional tool” to get to his son.
Ron has also made statements to other media outlets that he no longer feels it safe for his son to return to the U.S. and that Edward needs to wait for a new administration in the Whitehouse, one that respects the Constitution.
Edwards’ Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is now attempting to assist his father, Ron Snowden, in his efforts to travel to Russia to visit him. Kucherena told the Vesti-FM radio station on Wednesday that he would send Ron an invitation on Wednesday.
“I will do my best to do this today,” Kucherena told the radio. Kucherena revealed that Edward has expressed the need of morale support and requested him to contact his father.
As the Russian government gives asylum to Snowden, it has made it clear to Snowden that he can no longer release information harmful to the U.S., but this may not be enough to keep from adding more injury to an already strained relationship.
U.S. officials have made it clear that Russia’s actions are offensive and that Snowden should have been sent back to the U.S. to account for his actions.
“Edward Snowden is a fugitive who belongs in a United States courtroom, not a free man deserving of asylum in Russia,” said Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Regardless of the fact that Russia is granting asylum for one year, this action is a setback to U.S.-Russia relations.”
Edward Snowden’s actions have placed the U.S. in a precarious position with many of its allies. Now that Snowden is free, it is uncertain what his plans are for the additional information he claims to have in his possession regarding the NSA.
By: Veverly Edwards