MOSCOW: US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is living under guard at a secret address in Russia and sometimes emerges in disguise, although he remains in such danger that even a family visit could jeopardise his security, his lawyer said yesterday.
Snowden has avoided all contact with media since arriving in Russia on a flight from Hong Kong in June and his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena has become his unofficial spokesman.
“I am his only link with the outside world at the moment. Even his contacts with his parents are carried out through me,” Kucherena said in an interview published in Itogi weekly magazine.
Kucherena gave few details of how Snowden occupies his time, but said he is able to go out in disguise.
“He would walk past you and you wouldn’t recognise him,” he told Itogi. “It’s a question of clothes and small alterations to his appearance... He really does walk freely around on the streets.”
Snowden has also made quick progress in learning Russian, his lawyer said.
“He is an extremely fast learner as far as the Russian language is concerned,” Kucherena said in another interview..
“He only needs a few hours or days to learn the ropes and start speaking,” the lawyer said in comments dubbed into English.
Snowden spent more than a month in transit in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before slipping out and has not made any public appearance.
The 30-year-old former CIA security analyst is wanted by the United States after revealing details of massive surveillance by the National Security Agency to the media.
Kucherena, a high-profile lawyer who is an advisor to Putin, said he is working for free, as Snowden’s personal money is running low.