The Obama administration says it is “extremely disappointed” that Russia has granted fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum.
Snowden left the transit zone of the Moscow airport Thursday after being stuck there for more than a month. His lawyer said he was given a year’s asylum and a work permit, and was taken to a secret location.
His Russian lawyer says Snowden is planning to speak with the news media in the future, but only after getting acclimated to his new situation.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that officials are reevaluating next month’s scheduled talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in Moscow. He said the Kremlin ignored very clear requests, in public and in private, that Snowden be sent back to the United States for trial.
Snowden leaked details of secret programs conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency to keep records of citizens’ telephone calls and Internet traffic to try to stop terrorism. Snowden said Americans have the right to know their government is spying on them.
The NSA says the surveillance programs broke up a number of terror plots. President Obama met Thursday with lawmakers about possible changes in the rules for the surveillance.
Snowden fled the United States for Hong Kong before heading to Moscow in June. He has said that he ultimately wants to go to Latin America, where Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered him asylum.