Snowden fears for his life in Russia, says lawyer
January 22, 2014 - 4:25:43 am
MOSCOW: The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden said yesterday that the fugitive US intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials.
“There are real threats to his life out there that actually do exist,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia’s state-run Vesti 24 rolling news channel.
“These statements call for physical retribution against Edward Snowden,” Kucherena said. The rogue former National Security Agency contractor is wanted by US authorities on treason charges for disclosing details of a vast Washington intelligence operation that monitored millions of phone calls and emails across the world.
Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August — a move that infuriated the United States and was a key factor behind President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin last year.
The 30-year-old has remained in hiding but is believed to be living in the Moscow area and learning Russian. Kucherena recently said that Snowden has also been working from home as an IT adviser for a major local website.
The Russian lawyer yesterday appeared to be referring to an article posted last week by the popular US online website BuzzFeed entitled “American Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead”.
The article quoted one Pentagon official as saying: “I would love to put a bullet in his head.”
“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst was further quoted as saying.
Kucherena said Snowden is constantly accompanied by security guards and is considering additional security measures.
“Edward is treating these as real threats to his life and wellbeing,” the Russian lawyer said.
“Today, it might not be enough to have private guards. We must also think about how to safeguard his life and wellbeing.”