Russia has granted National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower a three year temporary asylum extension.
Edward Snowden went on the run in 2013 after passing NSA secrets to Wikileaks. He ended up in Russia. As the extension will mean he has been a temporary resident for over five years, he can apply for citizenship if he wants to.
Although he has been in Russia, the Kremlin has denied keeping him under watch. Dmitry Peskov said to the Tass news agency, “The [Snowden] issue is not the one of the Kremlin.
“We do not know what Mr Snowden does.
“He is presently here on a temporary permit, which has been extended, we do not have any additional information. All of his contacts with the outside world are taking place through his lawyers, including his lawyer in the United States. That’s a question for them.”
The claim has not been accepted by others. In an interview with the International Business Times, former NSA director believes Snowden is working with the Russians.
He said, “He has been [in Russia] for quite some time and his participation – implicit or explicit – in a Russian endeavour to seed doubt, misinformation and to essentially tease out some cracks in what we used to call the western alliance is clearly visible.
“I think that makes him complicit in that whether he likes it or not. It’s hard to imagine that an intelligence service of that high calibre would not find some way to take advantage of the presence of somebody who actually was inside NSA and CIA and tease out […] what insights they might get.
“Whether he likes it or not he is an unwitting tool of the Russian information operation.”
Unlike Chelsea Manning whose sentence was commuted, and hundreds of others Snowden wasn’t given a pardon by President Obama.