National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and has finally left the airport where has been holed up for more than a month, the Associated Press reports.
Snowden has been essentially trapped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since he arrived from Hong Kong back on June 23. Since his arrival, he applied for asylum in several countries. Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have all given offers of asylum to Snowden. Russia has offered Snowden permanent asylum as long as he does not leak any more U.S. secrets, and Snowden has agreed to that. That said, nothing permanent has been decided yet.
The United States has persistently asked Russia to send Snowden home so he can be tried for espionage, but Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the request outright. The U.S. says it would not seek the death penalty for Snowden if he were to make it back to U.S. soil.
Snowden has leaked lots of details about the spying abilities of the NSA. First, it was PRISM, a program from monitoring users of popular tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. His latest revelation is XKeyScore, which appears to be more powerful than PRISM and supposedly lets the NSA wiretap anyone as long as it has their email address, see anyone’s real-time Internet activity, read anyone’s email, and more.
WikiLeaks, the prominent classified document leaking organization that provided some help to Snowden, said on Twitter that it was pleased with the result. It went further to suggest that it had won the battle: