Snowden reportedly allowed to leave airport

Russia's Federal Migration Service has issued a document saying that the U.S. intelligence leaker will be allowed to leave the airport in which he's holed up while he awaits asylum.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden The Guardian

Edward Snowden might soon be allowed to leave the so-called "sterile zone" in Russia's Sheremetyevo airport, according to reports out of the country.

Russia's Federal Migration Service has issued a letter to Snowden, through a lawyer, saying that he is free to enter Russian territory while he awaits the country's decision on his temporary asylum, the BBC reported Wednesday, citing reports out of the country and its own sources. If Snowden acts on the document, he'll be allowed to stay in Russia during the application process and will be given new clothes, according to the BBC.

Snowden made world headlines by leaking classified information on the U.S. National Security Agency's tactics. Despite his claims that he's simply a whistleblower acting in the interests of the American people, the U.S. government has charged him with espionage and wants him to be extradited back to the country to face the charges.

Since June 23, however, Snowden has been holed up at the Moscow airport as he awaits safe passage to one of several South American countries that has already offered him asylum. However, because the U.S. has revoked his passport, Snowden needs temporary asylum from Russia in order to safely get to the other countries and enter legally.

For its part, the Russian government, led by President Vladimir Putin, has said that it will not turn over Snowden to the U.S. At the same time, Putin has publicly cautioned Snowden that he can only stay in Russia if he stops leaking information. It's believed that Snowden has an "insurance policy" of sorts that would see the leaking of even more classified information if something happens to him.

According to the BBC, Snowden should receive the letter from the Federal Migration Service soon and could leave the airport in a matter of hours.