Not surprisingly, NSA leaker Edward Snowden apparently has no interest in returning to the U.S. to face espionage charges. In fact, according to the Russian News Service RT, Edward Snowden’s attorney Anatoly Kucherena is saying that Snowden had officially requested another year of asylum in Russia. Snowden has been living in Moscow for over 12 months now.
Statement from Snowden attorney
“We have submitted documents to prolong his stay in Russia,” Kucherena is quoted as saying. It should be noted that Kucherena has known connections to Russian security services, has made made other claims to Russian media that have later been proven false, including that Snowden had taken a job in Moscow and even that he had a romantic interest.
Famous NSA leaker Edward Snowden first arrived in Moscow on June 24, 2013 after a flight from Hong Kong. He was stranded in the Moscow airport for several weeks with a void passport and no official status before being granted asylum. The initial grant of political asylum expires on July 31, and an extension must be approved by the Russian authorities for him to remain in the country.
The U.S. wants to extradite Snowden back home to face espionage charges, but Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., and has repeatedly said it has no legal obligations to cooperate.
Snowden, a former NSA contractor who worked for the agency in a number of capacities, first became well-known last spring when he leaked a variety of classified files on the NSA’s extensive surveillance activities both at home and abroad.
Snowden’s revelations regarding the extent of the NSA snooping activities on both U.S. and foreign citizens and organizations has provoked a great deal of controversy and anti-U.S. sentiment worldwide. The controversy has also had a negative effect on U.S. trade, as China and other nations have begun searching for other alternatives to U.S.-made IT equipment.