Despite Earlier Reports, Snowden Still Not Free to Leave Airport, Attorney Says

Russian news agency may have prematurely said whistleblower could enter country.

Photo Credit: Iakov Filimonov/


There are conflicting reports about whether National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden can leave the Moscow airport he’s been holed up in for the past month after a Russian news agency said Wednesday that he had been given an “official pass” to leave.

However, Snowden’s attorney says his client has received no such document and that his asylum status is still very much up in the air. Anatoly Kucherena says Snowden plans to stay in the airport until the issue is fully resolved. Kucherena added that the NSA leaker “intends to stay in Russia” and “study Russian culture.”

Snowden applied for asylum in Russia last week in order to avoid prosecution on espionage charges in the U.S.

The Associated Press via The Washington Post:

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was given a document on Wednesday that allows him to leave the transit zone of a Moscow airport and enter Russia, a state news agency said.

...Snowden, who revealed details of the NSA’s wide-ranging spying activities targeting data and phone communication, is believed to have been staying at the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.

Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unidentified security official as saying that Snowden was given the document Wednesday, allowing him to formally enter Russia.

...A spokeswoman for Russia’s Federal Migration Service told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it had no information about the status of Snowden’s application for asylum.

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