Snowden to seek Russian protection from death threats
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden will ask the Russian law enforcement authorities for protection after having received death threats against him disseminated by the US media, his Russian lawyer said Tuesday.
“We are concerned with the situation around Edward. We see statements made by some US officials containing potential and implicit threats to his life,” Anatoly Kucherena told reporters.
One such threat, attributed to a US intelligence officer, describes in detail how Snowden, who is living in Russia after having been granted temporary asylum here, could be easily assassinated in Moscow.
“This is a real death threat, and we are concerned that it has prompted no reaction from anybody. That is why we will file a request to the police. … We will ask the [Russian] law enforcement to investigate all such statements,” Kucherena said.
The lawyer said a death threat carries criminal liability under Russian law, while Snowden’s refugee status gives him equal rights as Russian citizens and allows him to ask for police protection in the country.
Kucherena also said Snowden’s US legal adviser, Ben Wizner, would take relevant steps in the United States to identify officials from the National Security Agency who called for Snowden’s assassination.
Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of the CIA and the NSA, hit the media spotlight after he leaked to reporters information about extensive surveillance programs by the US government that allegedly targeted millions of people around the world.
Snowden dismisses claims he was spying for Russia
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has denied allegations he was collaborating with Russian intelligence services when he exposed details of US surveillance programs by disclosing thousands of classified documents, the New Yorker reported Wednesday.
“It won’t stick … because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are,” Snowden told the New Yorker magazine from Moscow.
Snowden, who is wanted by US authorities and has been in Russia since June, was responding to allegations recently made by US Congressional leaders that he was possibly working for the Russian government at the time of his flight from the United States.
Snowden said the claims were baseless, noting that spies are better treated than being left to live in a Moscow airport for more than a month while in legal limbo.
“It’s not the smears that mystify me. It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation,” he said.
The New York Times reported Sunday that a senior FBI official told the newspaper the agency still believes Snowden acted alone.
Commenting on the widespread reporting on the statements, Snowden added “the media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”
Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, dismissed the accusations made by the chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee as baseless and said they were intended to besmirch Russia.
“[Mike] Rogers presented no evidence. His words are intended to discredit Russia,” he said.
Snowden’s lawyer said on Tuesday that the former contractor was planning to ask Russian law enforcement for protection after having received death threats, including from a US intelligence officer.
He said that currently Snowden is protected by private security guards.
Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum in August and he said in an interview last month that he is now residing in a Moscow suburb.