Edward Snowden may get papers allowing him to exit Moscow’s international airport on Wednesday. If so, he may actually be planning to settle and even work in Russia.
That’s the renewed rumors that are flying around on Tuesday afternoon about the NSA contractor who fled the United States and then Hong Kong to evade a federal felony warrant on espionage and theft charges. His passport was cancelled by the US State Department, which has left him trapped in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport because he cannot pass through customs without the proper paperwork.
He will have been stuck there for a month as of tomorrow.
Multiple media sources are now reporting that Edward Snowden didn’t really have all of the classified information he claimed he did.
US intelligence officials said Tuesday that they have determined that Snowden did not, in fact, access the so-called crown jewels of NSA intelligence. A CNN report said that it has now been determined that Snowden did not gain access to extremely compartmentalized information.
But the unnamed official said that Snowden is still guilty of a crime. “We are not downplaying [his leaks]…But just because you have the blueprints doesn’t mean you have the manual.”
CNN acknowledged that it can’t independently verify who is telling the truth.
Reuters published a report from Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena that said the leaker hoped to get temporary papers from the Russian government on Wednesday that would allow him to leave the Moscow airport.
Several Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, have already said that they would give him asylum. However, the lawyer said Snowden thinks he can’t reach those countries safely.
Therefore, he plans to stay in Russia, at least temporarily. The temporary papers would allow him to live there for at least three months and perhaps a year or more while he sought a permanent solution.
Kucherena expanded on the plan to Russia Today, saying outright that Edward Snowden will live and work in Russia:
“I think the process of adaptation will take some time. It’s an understandable process as he doesn’t know the Russian language, our customs, and our laws.
“He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job…
“Therefore, receiving the paper will give him an opportunity to leave the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport and choose a place of residence –rent a hotel or a flat…any place within the Russian federation.”
Here is how Edward Snowden looked when he met with human rights representatives at the Moscow Airport:
— PaulTOwen (@PaulTOwen) July 12, 2013
Tomorrow, we may get another look if Edward Snowden does finally emerge from the transit zone of the Moscow airport.