WikiLeaks is speculating the Russian government will trade NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for better relations with the United States.
Snowden is wanted on U.S. espionage and theft charges. He was granted a one year term of temporary asylum on August 1, 2013. He was holed up at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for more than a month prior to the Russian government granting asylum.
On Thursday Snowden’s asylum expired and he applied for an extension. His Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said the Federal Migration Service is considering his application and will likely make a decision today or tomorrow.
Zalina Kornilova, a spokesperson for the Federal Migration Service, refused to confirm if the application will be approved.
Despite speculation by WikiLeaks the former NSA employee will be traded for better relations with the United States as the crisis in Ukraine escalates by the day, Bloomberg reports the extension is expected to be approved because, according Vladimir Volokh, the head of advisory council of migration service, Snowden is “still in danger.”
“None of his circumstances have changed — the United States have not dropped his prosecution, he has not been declared a national hero there,” Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina told Interfax. “Nothing has happened that could have persuaded our authorities to decline him an extension of asylum.”
Snowden had originally intended to seek asylum in South America. During a layover in Moscow last year, however, the U.S. revoked his passport.
“He was ticketed to fly to Latin America and had to go through the transit zone in Moscow during a layover and at that point the US revoked his passport, effectively stranding him there. So Moscow was not of his choosing,” another lawyer representing Snowden, Jesselyn Radack, said on Wednesday.
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