Russia allows NSA whistleblower Snowden to stay three more years

Edward Snowden has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years, his lawyer says. The NSA whistleblower was last year granted temporary asylum of one year, but that ran out on Aug. 1. His lawyer Anatoly Kucherena was quoted by Russian news agencies saying Snowden had not been granted political asylum. That status would allow him to stay in Russia permanently but must be decided by a separate procedure, Kucherena said. He did not say whether his client is seeking it.

In the future, Edward will have to decide whether to continue to live in Russia and become a citizen, or to return to the United States.

Anatoly Kucherena, Edward Snowden’s lawyer

Snowden was stranded in a Moscow airport last year en route from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he released extensive documentation about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. Since receiving the temporary asylum, his whereabouts have not been made public. The lawyer said Snowden is working in the information technology field and that holding a job was a key consideration in extending his residency. He did not give details of where Snowden is working.

Whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.

Edward Snowden, speaking in a television interview in May