MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden observes the terms of his asylum and has handed no secret information to Western media since his arrival to Russia, his Russian lawyer said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Snowden “must stop his work aimed at harming our US partners” if he wants to stay in Russia. The presidential spokesman later said that Snowden had pledged to stop the leaks when applying for asylum in the country.
“As far as I know, Snowden hasn’t leaked anything from here,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena
said in an interview published by Russia’s Kommersant daily on Saturday, adding that it were media outlets who had made the decision on what information previously leaked by Snowden should be made public.
Kucherena, a prominent Russian lawyer, started assisting Snowden in his bid for a temporary asylum in Russia on July 12, and has since remained his representative and the only connection with the outside world.
He said the recent publications by The Guardian, The Washington Post и The New York Times were based on files provided by Snowden before his arrival to Russia. “Even if anything is published, it is all based on the information that he had handed over to the media while in Hong Kong,” Kucherena said.
The Washington Post reported Friday that secret “black budget” data leaked by Snowden shows the United States has built a global “espionage empire” employing over 100,000 people in 16 spy agencies and costing tens of billions of dollars annually.
On Saturday the paper said U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011. Nearly three-quarters of them were against top-priority targets, which former officials say included Iran, Russia, China and North Korea.
The stories are latest in a string of revelations in newspapers based on Snowden’s documents. Earlier this month, British security forces seized some 58,000 classified documents from David Miranda, a Brazilian national who has been working with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald on Snowden’s intelligence leaks.
UK national security adviser Oliver Robbins said these documents, also provided by Snowden, might threaten U.K. national security, damage the economy and lead to “widespread loss of life,” Bloomberg reported.
Snowden, 30, a former US intelligence contractor, is wanted by the United States on espionage and theft charges after leaking classified information about the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) sweeping telephone and electronic surveillance programs. He arrived to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 and received a temporary asylum after spending 40 days in the transit zone of the Russian capital’s Sheremetyevo airport.
The lawyer refused to disclose Snowden’s present whereabouts, saying only that he was “in a safe place” and was undergoing an “adaptation course” by studying Russian and reading Russian books in English.
“His further actions will be decided at a family council, when his father arrives to Russia. This meeting would bring some certainty,” Kucherena said.
According to the lawyer, Snowden has earlier refused to meet with envoys of the US Department of State.
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