MOSCOW (AP):National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has a place to live in Russia after being granted temporary asylum, but he still hasn’t decided what he wants to do next, his lawyer said last Friday.
The big question may be how much choice he actually has.
Russia granted a year of asylum to Snowden last Thursday, allowing him to quietly slip out of the Moscow airport where he had been holed up for almost six weeks as he evades charges of espionage in the United States (US).
Authorities have suggested he will have wide freedom to work, but Kremlin watchers believe his moves are likely being closely controlled by Russian intelligence.
Snowden “is in a safe place,” but the location will remain secret out of concern for his security, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russian news agencies.
The systems analyst who revealed himself as the source of reports in the Guardian newspaper of a vast US Internet surveillance programme needs time after his ordeal in airport limbo to figure out his next steps.
He was seen only once in his weeks in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport. Despite troops of photographers and reporters camped out inside and outside the airport, no one apparently saw him leaving, except for someone who snapped a photo of Kucherena talking to blurry figures who the attorney later said were Snowden and Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks staffer who has been advising him.