National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport where he had been staying since June after he was granted temporary asylum by Russia. Snowden’s lawyer said that he left after receiving the papers he needed to enter Russian territory from Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone.
According to the Miami Herald:
“Russia has granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum on Thursday, allowing the National Security Agency leaker to slip out of the Moscow airport where he has been holed up for weeks in hopes of evading espionage charges back home.
“The 30-year-old former NSA contractor now has plenty of room to roam throughout the sprawling country and continue the bizarre journey that has already stretched across half the planet — from Hawaii to Hong Kong to the Russian capital.”
In a letter released via the whistleblowing organization Wikileaks, Snowden thanked Russia for granting him asylum and accused the U.S. government of showing “no respect” for international law.
“Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning,” he said.
According to the BBC:
“Mr. Snowden left the airport at about 14:00 local time (10:00 GMT).
“Despite a heavy presence of journalists, his departure was apparently not spotted by the media.
“His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said: ‘His location is not being made public for security reasons, since he is the most pursued man on the planet.'”
White House ‘extremely disappointed’ with Snowden asylum
“The White House is re-evaluating whether U.S. President Barack Obama needs to participate in a summit this autumn summit with Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, after Moscow granted asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
“‘We are evaluating the utility of the summit in light of this,’ White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, said.
“The U.S. is ‘extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step’ despite Washington’s official and private requests to expel him, he added.
“Carney stressed that Snowden’s asylum is an ‘unfortunate development’ in U.S.-Russia relations, undermining the record of law enforcement cooperation between the two states, which was on an upswing since the Boston bombings.
“The White House spokesman stated that Washington would soon contact Russian authorities on the issue.
“At the same time, Carney said that the U.S. doesn’t want ‘Mr. Snowden to become a problem’ in U.S. relations with Russia, which cover ‘important and broad’ issues. “