Update: Snowden Doesn't Have Permission to Leave Moscow's Airport Just Yet
Russian media reported today that NSA leaker Edward Snowden had been given documents that will allow him to leave Moscow's Airport Sheremetyevo, but his lawyer says that isn't true.
Update: Russian media reported today that NSA leaker Edward Snowden had been given documents that will allow him to leave Moscow's Airport Sheremetyevo, but his lawyer and advisor Anatoly Kucherena says that isn't true. Despite reports to the contrary, the preliminary documents that would grant entry to Russia while his asylum request is considered have not actually been issued yet and that "miscommunication" led to a flurry of activity.
Kucherena says the full asylum process will take about three months, and for now, Snowden simply plans to wait and continue learning about Russian culture. He claims that Snowden still plans to eventually make Russia his permanent home. Today, Kucherena's arrival sparked a small media frenzy, but he merely brought Snowden a change of clothes and a book, Crime and Punishment. He added that Snowden has been wearing the same clothes for a month.
Original post: According to RT.com, these provisional documents provided by Russian immigration officials would be part of the process for reviewing his request for asylum (which could take several more months to complete) although it isn't an actual granting of asylum yet. If the report is accurate, he would now be allowed to travel freely in Russia, despite having his passport revoked by the United States.
It's not known, if or when Snowden actually plans to leave the airport, but his lawyer has stated the Snowden intends to settle in Moscow and look for work, although he doesn't speak any actual Russian.
Snowden has been living in small hotel inside the "transit area" of Sheremetyevo since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. Until now he has been legally barred from entering Russian territory, or flying to another destination, since he lacks a valid U.S. passport. Moscow-based journalist Lindsay France says he could emerge from the hotel soon.
All signs point to #Snowden making an appearance very soon on the first floor here at the airport.— Lindsay France (@LindsayFrance) July 24, 2013
#Snowden's lawyer Kucherena arrives at airport (PHOTO) http://t.co/go5IECFf7o pic.twitter.com/pdhR2KqNja— RT (@RT_com) July 24, 2013
9:00 a.m. ET: RT.com now has a RoyalBaby-esque live stream outside the airport's main door.
9:15 a.m. ET: Interfax reports that Snowden's lawyer has delivered the travel papers, around 4:00 p.m. local time, along with a new set of clothing for his client, including "a pair of jeans, t-shirt and Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" novel."
9:20 a.m. ET: RT now reports that Snowden has collected his "luggage." Does that include his hijacked NSA laptops?
10:00 a.m. ET: Reporters are still camped out waiting for Snowden to emerge, but in the meantime you can read about how Snowden has basically received everything that he wanted so far.
10:10 a.m. ET: Snowden's lawyer says he won't leave the airport today, because his request for asylum is still up in the air. He is probably concerned that if he leaves the airport and the request is denied, he wouldn't be able to return and would likely be arrested.