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Thursday
Aug012013

Edward Snowden Gets Permit to Enter Russia

The Guardian via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has reportedly been granted temporary asylum in Russia and has left Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer advising Snowden on his bid for asylum in Russia, showed reporters a copy of the permit, saying it was valid for up to a year and renewable after that.

"I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service.  They are what he needs to leave the transit zone," Kucherena said, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.

He said Snowden was tired from his month-long stay in the airport.

The lawyer said Snowden was expected to stay in an undisclosed location, adding that the fugitive leaker feared for his safety.  He reportedly left the airport in a taxi, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, who traveled with him to Moscow from Hong Kong.

The lawyer said he is preparing a visa application for Snowden's father, who said in an interview with Russian state television this week that he would like to visit his son.

Snowden applied two weeks ago for temporary asylum in Russia.

He had been stuck inside the transit zone of the airport since he arrived on June 23. He could not enter Russia because he did not have a Russian visa and he could not travel to safe haven opportunities in Latin America because the United States had canceled his passport.

The decision by Russia to allow Snowden into the country comes at an awkward time, with President Obama expected to attend a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in early September. U.S. officials have warned that if Snowden were allowed to stay in Russia, Obama might pull out of the meeting.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel were also expected to meet their Russian counterparts this month. Kerry warned his Russian counterpart that meeting, too, might be canceled because of the Snowden affair, according to the Daily Beast.

There was no immediate reaction from U.S. officials to Snowden's being allowed to enter Russia.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio