In early June, Edward Snowden revealed to the world that he was the whistleblower behind a series of leaked documents that detailed the NSA’s surveillance programs. Since then, he’s been stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. He’s applied to over a dozen countries for asylum, and one has finally granted it to him.
RT reports that the Russia has granted Snowden temporary asylum. He will now be able to leave the airport and live within Russia for a year. He will have to have his asylum request renewed every year unless he applies for permanent residency and becomes a Russian citizen.
As expected, Snowden has already left the airport. He left before his temporary asylum was announced so that he could get out of the airport unnoticed. As for his destination, that will not be disclosed. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena says that “he is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority.”
Speaking of security, WikiLeaks says that it sent its own Sarah Harrison to ensure his safety while in Russia:
Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia for a year and has now left Moscow airport under the care of WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013
So, what happens now? Snowden says that he will eventually address the press, but not today. For now, he wants a little privacy. When he does speak, expect to hear him mention something about never going back to the U.S. The recent Bradley Manning verdict pretty much guarantees that he will be convicted of violating the Espionage Act, and he’s already said that he’s afraid of being tortured and/or killed by U.S. government officials.