MOSCOW, July 31 ( RIA Novosti) - A year ago, former CIA employee Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia.
In early June 2013, ex-CIA employee//NSA contractor Snowden leaked details of mass surveillance programs that the US secret services carry out around the world.
US officials charged Snowden with three crimes, each punishable by 10 years in prison. He is accused of unauthorized communication of national defense information, willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person and theft of government property.
Snowden flew from the US to Hong Kong and then arrived in Moscow on June 23, 2013. He could not leave the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport as his US passport had been revoked.
On June 30, 2013, Wikileaks legal advisor Sarah Harrison handed over political asylum applications on behalf of Snowden to the consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport. The applications were addressed to 21 countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.
On July 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a condition by which Edward Snowden could stay in Russia. Putin requested that Snowden stop causing harm to the US.
On July 5, it was reported that Edward Snowden applied for asylum with six more countries.
On July 7, Foreign Minister of Venezuela Elías Jaua announced that Venezuelan officials had offered the ex-CIA employee on the run guarantees of asylum and were expecting a response. Bolivian President Evo Morales also expressed his willingness to accept Snowden in his country if the latter were to submit an official request. Nicaragua was the third country to offer help.
On July 11, Edward Snowden sent an email to foreign human rights organizations in Russia, the UN mission in Moscow and some prominent Russian lawyers inviting them to a meeting on July 12 in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. After the meeting it was announced that Snowden intended to apply for temporary political asylum in Russia.
On July 16, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena who consulted the former CIA employee announced that Snowden had submitted an official asylum request to a representative of the Russian Federal Migration Service. In his application, Snowden stated threats to his life as the reason for seeking asylum.
On August 1, the media learned that Snowden received temporary asylum in Russian for one year. Lawyer Kucherena announced that Snowden left the airport in a taxi, alone.
On August 6, lawyer Kucherena, representing Snowden’s interests, reported that his client had registered with the Russian immigration service.
The decision to provide Snowden with temporary political asylum was made by a Moscow regional department of the Federal Migration Service.
Later, Head of the Moscow Department of the Federal Migration Service Olga Kirillova announced that Snowden had not settled in Moscow.
On October 10, the Washington Post reported that four US whistleblowers from Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence and Wikileaks employee Sarah Harrison met with Snowden in Moscow to present him with an award “for telling the truth.”
Also on October 10, Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, arrived in Moscow. On October 15, lawyer Kucherena reported that Snowden met with his father, no other details were revealed.
On October 16 it became known that Snowden’s father was returning to the US but planned to travel to Russia again.
On October 17, The New York Times reported that Snowden gave an interview denying that he brought any classified documents to Russia. Snowden claimed that he passed all the classified papers he managed to obtain to journalists he met with in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow, and that he did not keep any copies.
On October 31, it was reported that Snowden got a job and would be managing IT support for a major Russian website starting November 1.
On October 31, Snowden met with a member of the German Bundestag, Hans-Christian Stroebele, and handed over a letter to the German government, parliament and general prosecution. Stroebele, who is a member of a parliamentary committee on security services, and the ex-CIA employee discussed conditions on which Snowden could testify for a German investigation of US intelligence activity, including the wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
On December 16, the Euronews audience recognized Snowden as Man of the Year 2014, with 47% of the votes. Earlier, The Guardian, a newspaper that was the first to publish the controversial story, also called Snowden the Man of the Year.
On December 24, in an interview with the Washington Post, Snowden said that his mission was complete.
On December 25, Snowden congratulated the British people on Christmas and urged them to think about how dangerous mass surveillance organized by the governments of several countries could be for the future of the world. The statement recorded in Russia was Snowden’s first appearance after his being granted a political asylum in Russia in August 2013. The statement was aired an hour after the Royal Christmas Message on Channel 4.
On January 22, 2014, Snowden gave an interview to the New Yorker from Moscow via encrypted channels. Snowden called the allegations that he is a Russian intelligence agent ridiculous and expressed confidence that Americans would not believe such an assumption.
On January 26, Snowden gave his first television interview since his stay in Russia. In strict confidence, he spoke to journalist and documentary filmmaker Hubert Seipel. In the interview, Snowden said he decided to tell the public about the scale of the mass surveillance that western intelligence services are conducting after he watched an address by the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who, according to Snowden, lied in front of the US Congress.
On February 18, it was reported that Snowden was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow.
On March 10, Snowden participated in the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive technology conference in Austin, Texas, by teleconference. He said that he had disclosed the data on secret US national intelligence programs to protect the law.
On April 7, The New York Times reported that Snowden was awarded the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize.
On April 8, Edward Snowden spoke at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by teleconference. Snowden said that the international community must develop new standards to prevent mass surveillance programs.
The former US intelligence service employee also spoke about the Fingerprints program that not only allows tracing but will also analyze the activity of online users.
On April 17, Snowden asked a video question in English during a live Q&A session with President Vladimir Putin. Snowden asked if Russia is involved in the interception, storage or analysis of conversations of millions of people and whether the president justifies mass surveillance. Putin responded that the Russian intelligence services only used wiretapping and surveillance if authorized by court in strict compliance with the law, and that therefore, no mass surveillance was being carried out.
On May 21, Snowden gave his first interview to a US television channel from a hotel in Moscow. The interview lasted for about four hours.
On May 29, lawyer Kucherena announced that Snowden was going to apply for an asylum extension.
On June 2, AFP, citing local media, reported that Snowden sent an official request to Brazil seeking political asylum.
In an interview with The Guardian, Snowden said that he spends some of his time on improving his technical skills and is developing a professional encrypting protocol that could help some professionals, including journalists, protect their data and information sources.