Renegade NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Offered Job by Russian Website
MOSCOW -- Renegade National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is to begin work soon for a Russian website, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.
Snowden will provide technical support for the site, said Kucherena, who declined to name the company for security reasons.
"Edward stars work in November," Kucherena told Russia state news agency RIA Novosti. "He will provide support for a large Russian site."
Snowden has been living in Russian since being granted temporary asylum early in August after fleeing Hong Kong, where he had passed computer files with evidence of illicit and extensive global electronic surveillance by America's National Security Agency to journalists.
Stranded in limbo in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for over a month as the White House sought his extradition, he was granted asylum by Russia President Vladimir Putin on the grounds that he stopped "harming" American interests.
Top Russian internet site VK (formerly Vkontakte, which means "in contact") -- a local language copycat version of Facebook -- offered him a job in August. The company says Snowden had not responded to the offer and has declined to comment further.
News of Snowden's job comes as the global scandal unleashed by his leaks continues to create a diplomatic headache for the White House.
Congressional hearings into the extent of electronic surveillance -- now shown to have included the bugging of the telephones of heads of nations friendly to the U.S,. including that of German chancellor Angela Merkel -- began in Washington DC earlier this week.
On Thursday, a Russian internet news portal that specializes in sensational news published a photo of a man they claim was Snowden enjoying a Moscow river boat cruise this summer in the company of two young women. The man in the photo is wearing a peaked flat white cotton hat and a red short-sleeved shirt. Lightly bearded, he bears the same small mole on his left cheek, but unlike many of the photos of Snowden previously published, is not wearing glasses. His head is turned towards the left and he has a slightly quizzical look on his face.
The photo appears to be aboard a Moscow river boat cruise. The city's Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the same church in which the imprisoned young women of Pussy Riot performed their punk protest song last year, is in the background of the shot.
It is not known who took the photo or when, or whether Snowden gave his permission.
The same site, Live News, earlier published a blurry image of a man they said was Snowden pushing a cartload of groceries in a supermarket parking lot near Moscow. Kucherena, who works for the Kremlin's security services, says that Snowden is low on funds and living off the charity of friends.
The temporary asylum -- which is renewable annually -- gives Snowden the right to work in Russia.
Kucherena says that Snowden enjoys walking around Moscow and that his Russian language skills are improving.
It is not clear where Snowden lives, although Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer who recently visited him at his home, claims he had to pass through metal detectors before the meeting and that Snowden appeared to be accompanied by Russian security officials.