Snowden Will Soon Be Free to Leave the Moscow Airport

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 24 2013 10:09 AM

Snowden Expects to Leave the Moscow Airport Soon, Then Get a Job

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Police officers guard the entrances inside the terminal F of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, on July 12, 2013, during a meeting between Russian rights activists and Edward Snowden's lawyers

Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

What has to be the most high-profile airport layover in history is about to come to an end. Edward Snowden has received the necessary paperwork to leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and enter Russia proper, according to an unnamed official who spoke to Reuters Wednesday. "The documents have been handed over," the airport source said. Here's the BBC with a bit more info:

An unnamed source told Russia's Interfax news agency ... the American would be provided with new clothing and allowed to leave the airport. There was no official comment on news of the pass, which is believed to be an official paper which confirms that his asylum application is being considered and allows him to enter Russian territory.
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Snowden has been holed up in the airport's transit zone since June 23, when he arrived from Hong Kong after outing himself as the NSA leaker. He's still hoping to make his way to Latin America, where he's been offered asylum by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. But seeing as none of those countries have a direct flight from Russia, it remains unclear how Snowden could get there. In the meantime, he'll have to bide his time in Russia.

Update 11 a.m.: Snowden's lawyer has since told reporters that the papers haven't been handed over just yet, although they are expected to be soon. The lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, also made it sound as though his client is prepared to stay in Moscow for at least a while. "He’s planning to arrange his life here," Kucherena told RT. "He plans to get a job. And, I think, that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.