The Slatest

Edward Snowden Has Left the Building: Moscow Grants NSA Leaker Temporary Asylum

In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency regarding telecom data

Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images

No, for real this time, via the Wall Street Journal:

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has received asylum for a year in Russia and has left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who has been representing Mr. Snowden in Moscow, said the U.S. fugitive received so-called “temporary asylum” for a period of one year that allows him to remain and live on Russian territory. Temporary asylum is usually issued in Russia for renewable one-year periods.

Snowden has been holed up in the airport’s transit zone since June 23, when he arrived from Hong Kong after outing himself as the NSA leaker. He’s still hoping to make his way to Latin America, where he’s been offered asylum by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. But seeing as none of those countries have a direct flight from Russia, it remains unclear how Snowden could get there. In the meantime, he’ll have to bide his time in Russia. Kucherena said last week that his client is “planning to arrange his life” there for now, and “plans to get a job.”

Russia’s decision comes about a week after Eric Holder sent a letter to the Russian minister of justice promising that the United States would not torture and/or kill the NSA leaker if he were sent to Washington.

Update: For those wondering, here’s what Snowden’s Russian papers look like:

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