The Russian Federation granted former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asylum for one year on Thursday, leaving more questions than answers about the future of a man who stoked the fires of the privacy debate in the U.S. and across the globe.
Snowden’s newly acquired refugee status — which expires July 31, 2014 — allowed him “to slip quietly out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after more than five weeks in limbo,” Reuters reports, adding to strained tensions between the Obama administration and the Kremlin.
Snowden, no longer needing to seek refuge in an airport, can now roam and work freely in Russia. He will be staying in a secret location.
According to WikiLeaks, he thanked the Russian government on Thursday, stating, “Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law but in the end the law is winning.”
After coming to the realization that his son would not receive a fair trail in the U.S. under the Obama administration, Snowden’s father — Lon Snowden — decided that it was best for his son to stay in Russia “until an administration that respects the Constitution comes into office.”
Since Snowden first unveiled himself as the source behind the Guardian and the Washington Post’s recent stories about the West’s massive global electronic surveillance programs, his father has publicly advocated for his safe return and a fair trial.
Snowden is rumored to have reached out to a former group of former KGB officers during his stay at the airport, the Washington Free Beacon reported on July 24.
The group, Veterans of the Siloviki, had hoped to provide Snowden, a fellow colleague of the intelligence profession, with basic humanitarian assistance during his time in limbo.
His newly acquired refugee status was granted 29 days after he received a marriage proposal from the super-hot suspected Russian spy Anna Chapman on Twitter.