Lawyer: Snowden applied for asylum in Russia

posted at 10:01 am on July 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After several weeks of cooling his heels in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Edward Snowden has decided to see what’s outside of it.  According to an attorney representing the NSA leaker in Russia, Snowden has filed papers for political asylum in Russia, but perhaps only on a temporary basis:

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked a cache of classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs, officially filed for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday, a human rights lawyer and WikiLeaks say.

According to Russia Today, a state-funded English-language news outlet, Russian human rights lawyer Anatoly Kucherena delivered the asylum application to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where Snowden has been stranded for more than 20 days.

After Snowden filled it out, the form was then submitted to Russia’s Federal Migration Service, which has yet to comment on the application.

Kucherena told RT that Snowden did not indicate whether he intended to stay in Russia if granted asylum or head to one of the three Latin American countries — Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela — that have offered him asylum.

Yesterday, Vladimir Putin didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat.  Describing him as an uninvited guest, Putin didn’t rule out an asylum grant, but made it clear he’d prefer to see Snowden move along:

He went on to distance Russia from Snowden and his political activities and, as on previous occasions when he has spoken about the case in public, avoided taking the opportunity to gloat at the United States’ failure to catch him.

“He came to our territory without invitation, we did not invite him. And we weren’t his final destination. He was flying in transit to other states. But the moment he was in the air … our American partners, in fact, blocked his further flight,” Putin said.

“They have spooked all the other countries, nobody wants to take him and in that way, in fact, they have themselves blocked him on our territory,” he said. …

“As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that,” Putin said during a visit to Gogland Island in the Gulf of Finland.

“The conditions for (Russia) granting him political asylum are known to him. And judging by his latest actions, he is shifting his position. But the situation has not been clarified yet.”

Well, it’s clarified now, at least temporarily.  This was Snowden’s only way out of the airport that didn’t involve extradition to the US, and his only opportunity to get to one of three Latin American countries that have offered him asylum on a permanent basis.  He has to get to their embassies to procure travel paperwork that would allow him to leave the airport, and Russia has apparently decided not to provide him safe passage without asylum.

Of course, once he has asylum in Russia, Snowden might not need asylum anywhere else.  He could get Russian travel papers and then avoid any countries with extradition treaties to the US in his future travels.  That depends, though, on whether Snowden can count on Putin to block extradition after a temporary grant of immunity.  Reuters notes in its account that Putin has taken care not to humiliate the US much — at least not lately — and Putin could be thinking of using Snowden as leverage with the US on other issues.

He’s still better off in terms of security in seeking asylum in South American countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, which have less-friendly relations with the US.  Of course, those are also more oppressive regimes in terms of free speech and media operations, but a fugitive felon doesn’t get the luxury of a wide array of choices while on the lam, either.


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Traitor or Hero?

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Kerry won’t allow that, and we all know how much respect he has around the world.

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I crack myself up…

right2bright on July 16, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Traitor or Hero?

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Who, Putin?

right2bright on July 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Snowden

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Traitor or Hero?

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Yes

cozmo on July 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Snowden continues to be a thorn in the side of the Administration and the lapdog media that ceaseless lie for it. If the media had access to Snowden, I bet reporters would be following him into the john.

Remember: these are the same folks who still say the Rosenburgs were innocent.

Liam on July 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

LIVE FEED:

Please Do Not Comment:

NBCNews.com | July 16, 2013
Al Sharpton delivers remarks in wake of Zimmerman verdict
Al Sharpton and leading ministers deliver remarks in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict outside the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.
***************

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbcnews.com/52488283

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Sharpton won’t be satisfied until he gets someone killed again.

Liam on July 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Decision on NSA leaker Snowden’s request for temporary asylum in Russia is not up to President Putin, Kremlin spokesman says – @Reuters

28 mins ago by editor
===========================

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Pretty soon the monetary support he is getting from the Liberals is going to dry up. What is he going to do then? Wash dishes in some mexican resturant in Venuzela?

Johnnyreb on July 16, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 8m

Kremlin says the decision to accept Edward Snowden’s asylum request in Russia is not up to President Putin http://reut.rs/1497rt5
=============================================================

Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:03am

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/16/us-usa-security-snowden-putin-idUSBRE96F0P520130716

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Anatoly Kucherena delivered the asylum application to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where Snowden has been stranded for more than 20 days.

Snowden has been “stranded?” I thought the traitor was hiding out to avoid extradition. Stranded means he can’t leave. Not wanting to be arrested is a completely different thing.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2013 at 10:19 AM

cozmo on July 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Correct! ; )

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Well,I’m still on the fence with Snowden,but seeking Asylum in
the USSR,isn’t gonna help!

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Whistleblowers go to Congress.

They do not run to a left-wing foreign newspaper, then flee to China, followed by Russia.

Red Cloud on July 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Comrade Snowden enjoys living in Tiksi…the fishing is good in summer – Putin

workingclass artist on July 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Comrade Snowden enjoys living in Tiksi…the fishing is good in summer – Putin

workingclass artist on July 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

workingclass artist:And,ComradEtte Anna Chapman,can help baiting the
lure with worms!(sarc)

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Whistleblowers go to Congress.

They do not run to a left-wing foreign newspaper, then flee to China, followed by Russia.

Red Cloud on July 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I think that is the way we would all prefer it to work. However, considering the level of corruption in our present administration, I would blame no one for not trusting them to follow the rules on anything involving the DOJ or even Congress, for that matter. Politics rules all. We have enough evidence by now to know that is the case.

a capella on July 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

At this point, I think Snowden’s best bet is to trek cross country to the Atlantic Ocean, buy a sailboat and follow in Christopher Columbus’ footsteps.

Fenris on July 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

I’ll reserve my judgement on Snowden.
I have no idea the scope of the info he leaked or holds.
I cannot believe much of anything that comes from the media.

Badger40 on July 16, 2013 at 11:21 AM

It really bugs me that so many conservatives are calling the man a traitor for revealing criminal government activity that is WAY more likely to target them than anyone in the middle east. Napolitano even said the DHS was shifting focus to domestic extremists before all this broke out. I don’t care if no one agrees, but rest assured that your defense of this criminal admin will NOT be reciprocated.

abobo on July 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM

This is all a nice song and dance routine but this pretty validates the theory that Snowden was not civil libertarian standing up for the “peoples’ rights.” This shows that he was either a witting or unwitting Russian agent. The exosure of Prism was simply a diversion from more serious breaches in US intelligence practices. Libertarians are as gullible as their Progressive opposites.

jerryofva on July 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Maybe Obama is the Russian agent cause that’s the reason Snowden’s stuck in Russia. Also for the so called conservatives in the thread, if you can read the 2nd Amendment, what degrades your reading comprehension by the time you get down to the 4th? Some of you people are nuts, advocating the same tyrannical infrastructure we rightly demonized the soviets for. Move to china if that’s how you feel, low regulations and no rights, sounds like paradise for you sheep.

LevStrauss on July 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The cold war is over folks. Russia is no more the enemy than Canada. In fact, the only enemies that can hurt the American people in any significant way are your own Government, drug cartels, transnational progressives/industrialists, and Islamists. Those who get hung up on Snowden seeking asylum in Russia are about 25 years behind the times. No wonder the Feds treat you all like crap; you deserve it. Toss a little cold war rhetoric out there and you all go running after the ball like good little puppies. The most encouraging for me though, is that conservatives seem to be split on this … and that a vast cross-section of all political strata understands the enormous service that Snowden has rendered. He’s sacrificing almost everything to give you confirmation that your government has put in place the blueprint for the world’s first digital totalitarian state. Your sweet little government keeps metadata on all of you, which means it knows what you buy, where you shop, where you drive, who you talk to, what your politics are, which porn sites you visit, which support groups you enlist, what your religion is, all of your online activity, where you travel etc … and increasingly, all about your medical information. But noooooooo … Snowden went to the Ruskies so he’s a traitor.

And finally, those of you who expected Snowden to go to Congress must be living in some sort of twilight zone … after everything that this fascist government has done in the past couple of years (IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc.) coupled with the cloistered statist nature of the GOP elite, means he’d have been chewed up and spit out into some dark hole somewhere … you wouldn’t even know his name. Maybe they’d feed him to Cheney … just for fun.

I’m embarrassed for some of you … wave the flag and you all run over the cliff chasing after it. You deserve the government you have.

Sparky5253 on July 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Whistleblowers go to Congress.

They do not run to a left-wing foreign newspaper, then flee to China, followed by Russia.

Red Cloud on July 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I think that is the way we would all prefer it to work. However, considering the level of corruption in our present administration, I would blame no one for not trusting them to follow the rules on anything involving the DOJ or even Congress, for that matter. Politics rules all. We have enough evidence by now to know that is the case.

a capella on July 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Yeah, in Snowden’s case, I’ve a feeling if he went to Congress, he’d eventually end up in Guantanamo, or worse, an unmarked grave or the foundation of a new stadium.

TMOverbeck on July 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM

From Wikipedia:

The United States maintains diplomatic relations, but according to the above-mentioned list, does not have extradition treaties with the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, China (except Hong Kong), Comoros, Congo (Kinshasa), Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican, Vietnam, Yemen, and the countries formerly part of Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.

Myself, I would’ve gone to a tropical island nation like Micronesia or Vanuatu. Samoa would be nice, too, but they’ve got an American territory too close to it, so who knows if someone like Dog Chapman would base a retrieval operation in Pago Pago.

TMOverbeck on July 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Sparky:

Get a clue. Russia still has sufficient nuclear weapons aimed at the United States to end our existence. We are no longer in an ideological struggle with foreign communism but we are still rivals with Russia. The level of Russian espionage directed the United States is unchanged from Soviet days. Nations have spied on each other since nations existed. The Russians have historically had excellent intelligence services under the Tsars, Soviets and now the post-Soviet pseudo-republic. They want to know what tactics, techniques and procedures that the US uses against them especially signals and communications intelligence. The SVR and GRU use many stratagems to penetrate US intelligence. One of those stratagems is to find a disgruntle employee and either directly or indirectly recruit him. If you knew anything about counterintelligence it would be obvious by now that Snowden was working for the Russians. Do you really thing a “lover of Freedom” would be in Moscow right now?

You sound like a naive Psulbot. If the US would just mind its own business everybody would leave us alone. Here is a little history lesson for you. If you want you believe in isolationism then it doesn’t mean take a “non-interventionist” foreign policy. It means closing the borders and banning foreign trade and travel as well. The United States tried to mind its own business and stay out of other affairs during the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War. We would have been happy to trade with all parties in both wars. Unfortunately, what we thought was minding are own business and engaging in economic relations the warring parties looked as trading with their enemies. The took the appropriate actions. You don’t want to fight in foreign wars than don’t have political or economic relations with other nations. That might work but again as Leon Trotsky said “You might not be interested in war but war might be interested in you.”

jerryofva on July 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Whistleblowers go to Congress.

They do not run to a left-wing foreign newspaper, then flee to China, followed by Russia.

Red Cloud on July 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I think that is the way we would all prefer it to work. However, considering the level of corruption in our present administration, I would blame no one for not trusting them to follow the rules on anything involving the DOJ or even Congress, for that matter. Politics rules all. We have enough evidence by now to know that is the case.

a capella on July 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

And in Russia politics doesn’t rule?? Lool :)….So, you wouldn’t trust the corrupt US govt (or the current admin anyways), but you would trust the uncorrupt, truth seeking, universal human rights-uphelding Russian govt run by Putin and his thuggish ilk…umm, yeah, it makes total sense….sarcasm aside, let me try to understand this correctly though….Sooo, Snowden was hailed and granted ‘popular hero’ status for leaking some NSA documents, his motives having to do with the immorality of the whole thing, that’s what he cited at least, he dramatically confessed that he could not tolerate the grave human rights abuses he witnessed and was compelled to break the law….rrright….and then, what does he do, he decides to be selectively outraged by the immorality of such human rights abuses (he considered the surveillance of law abiding citizens to be so) by seeking asylum in a country run by a govt with an even more egregious human rights abuses record, a country with a govt that operates in the exact same realm like the US govt when it comes to surveillance of their own citizens and spying on foreign ones, a country with a govt that kill their journalists when they expose the corruption of the govt, or poison with Polonium (and kill) ex-KGB/FSB agents who found asylum in foreign countries…Snowden wouldn’t get the irony of his situation if it hit him in the face…so where’s his sense of morality now, temporarily anaesthetized, out on hold? And what’s he gonna do when he will decide that his sense of morality could not tolerate the Russian govt human right abuses lol :), assuming this will ever happen… one thing is fo sho, he won’t get outta there, not alive anyways….Now, I wouldn’t assume that you see anything wrong with this picture…

jimver on July 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

And finally, those of you who expected Snowden to go to Congress must be living in some sort of twilight zone … after everything that this fascist government has done in the past couple of years (IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc.) coupled with the cloistered statist nature of the GOP elite, means he’d have been chewed up and spit out into some dark hole somewhere … you wouldn’t even know his name. Maybe they’d feed him to Cheney … just for fun.

I’m embarrassed for some of you … wave the flag and you all run over the cliff chasing after it. You deserve the government you have.

Sparky5253 on July 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

And the Russian govt is beyond corruption??? :), or does not do surveillance on its citizens, or it does not kill its citizens for simply exposing the corruptiom of the govt??? What planet do you live on??? or most importantly, what are you smoking??? And you’re the one who tells people that they live in twilight zones, get a clue, nan, before you spout even more nonsense…and be embarrassed for yourself, you make absolutely no sense…

jimver on July 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Snowden has been “stranded?” I thought the traitor was hiding out to avoid extradition. Stranded means he can’t leave. Not wanting to be arrested is a completely different thing.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2013 at 10:19 AM

I read somewhere (can’t remember sorry been so many things written) that Snowden’s passport has been revoked by the US and it seems a lot of countries just don’t want to get involved or actively siding with the Obama Regime.

Plus there was that “incident” with Boliva’s president.

If this is the case, then I’d say “no where to go”. ;)

kim roy on July 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

And the Russian govt is beyond corruption??? :), or does not do surveillance on its citizens, or it does not kill its citizens for simply exposing the corruptiom of the govt??? What planet do you live on??? or most importantly, what are you smoking??? And you’re the one who tells people that they live in twilight zones, get a clue, nan, before you spout even more nonsense…and be embarrassed for yourself, you make absolutely no sense…

jimver on July 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

The Russians are letting him sit there and sort it out. No one else is allowing it. Sometimes one makes do. Besides, that has nothing to do with what is going on with the Obama Regime, which is the part that you quoted.

What part of what Sparky5253 said that you quoted was incorrect?? You removed the part that you actually responded to. Why?

kim roy on July 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

And the Russian govt is beyond corruption???

So, you wouldn’t trust the corrupt US govt (or the current admin anyways), but you would trust the uncorrupt, truth seeking, universal human rights-uphelding Russian govt run by Putin and his thuggish ilk

Both irrelevant points. The point is not how trustworthy the Russians are, but how trustworthy your government is. Don’t deflect.

Get a clue. Russia still has sufficient nuclear weapons aimed at the United States to end our existence. We are no longer in an ideological struggle with foreign communism but we are still rivals with Russia. The level of Russian espionage directed the United States is unchanged from Soviet days

And, the USA has the same. It’s a ridiculous and untenable situation. Two economic rivals point earth destroying levels of nukes at each other … I think the insanity of the situation has gone over your head … raw raw USA USA USA and all that crap. Russia is no more an enemy as is Canada; she is an economic rival and an energy giant whom Europe can’t exist without. Other than that, Russian foreign strategy is incredibly dovish; even compared to that of the USA … the Cold War ended long ago. Russia has a sphere of influence which seldom butts up against that of the USA. But, I guess all good “patriotic” Americans need a commi under their bed to keep them inline. Like I said, your enemy is your government; drug cartels; transnational progressives and industrialists; and Islamists.

Snowden has done you all a favor … yet for so many it boils down to where he seeks refuge. Now that, is about as shallow and inane a conceptualization as anything one comes across on the far left sites. Thank goodness that so many conservatives get it; and know the difference between brain-shrinking patriotism and thinking. Your founders warned you first and foremost about your own government … listen to them.

Sparky5253 on July 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Sparky lives in another universe. Russia is attempting to restore its control of Eastern Europe. It is butting up against the West and not just the United States in the Middle East. It backs both Assad and the Iranian regime. It plays the China card whenever it is convient. The great game of nations did not end with the Cold War. In fact it was stiffled by the ideological contest that took place from 1946-89. We are back to traditional geopolitics and with that espionage continues.

So if you think that Russia is just like Canada why don’t you emmigrate there. I am sure you will enjoy the superior freedom that Russians now enjoy.

jerryofva on July 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Russia is attempting to restore its control of Eastern Europe.

Ha ha ha; maybe Chechnya and Georgia, but not much else. I’ve got lots of relatives in Eastern Europe, and there’s not even a whiff of that. Tell us which of these Eastern European nations Russia is attempting to control … the Czechs, Polish, Hungarians, Ukrainians? Russia serves Eastern European energy needs, and needs access to Western European markets through Eastern countries so she gets involved with economic issues, just like America, Canada, and Mexico. Ha ha, as if America doesn’t take care of her economic needs … think of the great USA suck up to the Saudies. Russia’s interests are economic, just like America’s.

So if you think that Russia is just like Canada why don’t you emmigrate there.

I said that Russia is no more of an enemy; I did not compare Russia’s economy. Why would I go to Russia when Canada has one of the most successful economies on the planet, and as of lately, far less “progressive” interference than the USA.

Sparky5253 on July 16, 2013 at 4:58 PM