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article imageNo walking papers for Snowden yet

By Craig Boehman     Jul 24, 2013 in World
Moscow - Contrary to earlier reports by the Russian media, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had not received travel documentation that would have allowed him to exit the transit bay at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.
Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday, “Unfortunately the current situation is a truly unique one for Russia, and we have to account for the bureaucracy [involved in the process], so his documents are still being looked over.”
The US is seeking clarity on Snowden's status, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.
Snowden had applied for temporary asylum in Russia July 16. He had intended to fly to South America to explore his options, where Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have extended offers of asylum to Snowden.
The US cancelled his passport shortly after arriving in Moscow, depriving him of the legal documentation to leave Russia. The seat on Snowden's Havana flight had been reported empty.
The 30 year-old former Booz Allen contractor has been confined at the Russian airport since arriving there from Hong Kong June 23.
The US wanted Snowden extradited to face espionage charges stemming from his leaking of expansive NSA surveillance programs. The files in the Guardian's possession outline the NSA's collection of phone communications of American citizens as well as those of global partners of the United States.
Putin had previously said that he would not give up Snowden, and that he could remain in Russia on the condition that he “...stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners...”
For now, Snowden will remain in Russia. A ruling on his application for temporary asylum could take months, but a travel certificate issued by Russian authorities would allow Snowden to leave the airport and to live and work in Russia in the meantime.
“He plans to get a job,” Kucherena told RT on Tuesday. “And I think that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in."
Kucherena said that Snowden intended to study Russian culture too. On Wednesday, the lawyer also provided Snowden with fresh clothes and several books to pass the time, including Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Kucherena explained that he didn't mean to draw comparisons between the Russian protagonist's mental anguish and his client, only that Snowden might find the subject matter interesting.
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald initially broke the story of the NSA spying program when Snowden reached out to him. Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras interviewed and filmed Snowden in Hong Kong before he fled to Moscow.
Greenwald has said that there are more revelations about the NSA surveillance programs to come.
More about snowden, nsa whistleblower, Asylum, Russia
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