Edward Snowden granted temporary asylum in Russia


NBC News

MOSCOW, Russia - NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and has left the Moscow airport where he has been stranded for more than a month, his lawyer said. 

An airport representative told Reuters that the former intelligence contractor had already crossed through the immigration line and left the airport.

Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said he wouldn't disclose the fugitive's whereabouts for security reasons.

WikiLeaks also posted on Twitter that Snowden had left the airport.

"We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden," it said in a tweet.

"We have won the battle -- now the war."

A senior Kremlin official, Yuri Ushakov, told Reuters that he doubted ties between Russia and the United States would suffer because of the “relatively insignificant” Snowden case.

“Our president has ... expressed hope many times that this will not affect the character of our relations,” he told reporters, saying there was no sign that U.S. President Barack Obama would cancel a planned visit to Moscow in September.