Updated 07:07 AM EDT, Sat, Apr 10, 2021

Edward Snowden News: Russia Grants Political Asylum to NSA Leaker, According to Attorney

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National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who recently applied for asylum in Russia, had the application approved on Thursday, after a month-long wait stuck in a transit zone at a Moscow airport.

Snowden has reportedly been granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year, during which he can live, work and travel throughout Russia. He is allowed to request a renewal for asylum each year thereafter.

The former U.S. security contractor wasted no time in immersing himself in his new home, as he immediately exited the airport and then took off to find a new place to live, according to his attorney.

USA Today reports that Snowden's attorney Anatoly Kucherena expects his client to stay in an undisclosed location for an indeterminate amount of time, fearing safety issues. Snowden reportedly left the airport in a taxi with Sarah Harrison of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The group maintains that it has monitored Snowden's welfare continuously ever since he traveled to Hong Kong and flew to Russia.

"[Snowden] is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority," Kucherena said. "He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer."

When news of Snowden's new legal status in Russia went public, WikiLeaks immediately tweeted: "We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle--now the war."

ABC News reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to allow Snowden to stay in Russia under orders that Snowden would stop "harming" the United States by releasing any more classified information.

Snowden readily agreed to the mandate, as he has reportedly already met the criteria. In a meeting with human rights activists in July, Snowden claimed that he had already given away all of the sensitive material that he'd had in his possession.

Snowden's father Lon has publicly expressed a strong wish to travel to Russia to see his son, for whom he has shown support throughout the entire ordeal.

CNN reports that Kucherena told Russian news agency Itar-Tass that he would start working on Snowden's father's visa application.

"I telephoned [Edward Snowden] today. We agreed that I would prepare an invitation for his father to visit Russia. I hope that the visa formalities will not be long," Kucherena said on Wednesday.

According to Philly.com, Lon Snowden told Russian television how grateful he is to President Putin and his government for steadfastly protecting his son. Snowden Sr. reportedly thanked the Kremlin for the "courage" shown in keeping his son safe.

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