Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the US and UK’s huge internet surveillance programmes PRISM and Tempora, has been allowed to leave Moscow airport for the first time since fleeing to the country a month ago.
Russia has granted Snowden temporary asylum, in a move that is bound to anger US authorities, which were hoping to have him extradited to face charges.
Multiple sources have said that a lawyer for Snowden in Russia confirmed he has been given the temporary clearance.
"I have just passed him documents from Russia's Federal Migration Service," Russian news agency Interfax reported lawyer Anatoly Kucherena as saying, as cited by Reuters.
The approval is a huge victory for Snowden, who has been on the run for over a month since his revelations were first reported. Initially he fled to Hong Kong before moving on to Russia. At one stage it was believed he was flying to Cuba, but that proved to be a red herring.
Since then he has been holed up in Russia, but now appears to be a step closer to securing his safety. However, the US will no doubt continue to fight for his extradition.
Snowden’s revelations continued on Wednesday with information on the XKeyscore software used by US security officials to trawl the web for vast reams of data on practically anyone.
The system reportedly allows analysts connected to the browser-based system could search through the NSA's records without any review process, meaning data searching was effectively a free-for-all for employees and contractors.
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