NSA leaker Snowden gets to officially stay in Russia

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Russia on global map
This global map shows Russia in green. Notice how enormous it is? Snowden could be anywhere…

Well, the showdown between Edward Snowden, the US, and Russia seems to have ended in favor of Snowden. The National Security Agency (NSA) leaker has been granted temporary asylum – meaning he’s not going to be shipped back to the US for a trial. Thanks in part to the efforts of Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, his WikiLeaks friends can now take him to an undisclosed location. On Twitter, WikiLeaks said, “We have won the battle – now the war,” because it knows that now, the real fight begins. It’s not like the US is going to give up until Snowden is brought to justice.

This move will certainly sour relations between Moscow and the White House. “Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass,” said US Senator John McCain. “It is a slap in the face of all Americans.” Given Snowden’s recent reveal of yet another classified NSA program, it’s definitely a slap in the face of the US intelligence community. McCain and several other lawmakers say that the US needs to rethink its relationship with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

The NSA leaker also has an application for permanent political asylum pending, meaning he could possibly stay safely in Russia for a very… very long time if it gets approved. Lon Snowden, his father, is thrilled that his son will get to stay in Russia, because he believes that, “If he comes back to the United States, he is going to be treated horribly… He is going to be thrown into a hole. He is not going to be allowed to speak.” The US, however, has said that Snowden would be given a fair trial in full public view.

Will someone discover where Snowden’s hiding in Russia? Dmitri Trenin, director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, said he’s convinced Russia can guarantee the security of the leaker. “Snowden could be at a dacha [country house] outside Moscow or shipped off to a seaside or ski resort, but the likes of you won’t find out where he is… Russia is a vast place.”