Edward Snowden’s current grant of asylum from the Russian government expires on July 31, but his request for a one-year extension has not yet been granted. Snowden’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena told the Interfax news agency, “We have filed documents to extend his stay on the territory of Russia.” (Los Angeles Times).
Observers indicate that renewal is virtually certain. Immunity CEO Dave Aitel, a former NSA research scientist, says, “Realistically, there is no way Snowden isn’t going to be granted some form of asylum for the rest of his life in lovely Moscow.” A Russian official close to the situation also suggested there is no reason for Snowden to worry.
“I see no problem in prolonging the temporary asylum. The circumstances have not changed. As before, Snowden’s life is endangered so the FMS has grounds to extend his status,” Vladimir Volokh, head of an advisory body to the migration authorities, told the Interfax news agency. (Reuters/Moscow Times)
Still, for someone whose freedom hangs in the balance, the eleventh-hour drama could be nerve-wracking, although Snowden has displayed extraordinary calmness throughout his ordeal.
Meanwhile, the Russian government is offering a contract worth $110,000 in US dollars “to study the possibility of obtaining technical information on users and users’ equipment of Tor anonymous network.” Tor is the open source software recommended by Snowden for hiding one’s internet traffic from snooping governments. Bloomberg reports, “The number of Tor users in the country tripled over the last 12 months to more than 150,000, according to data from the Tor Project.”
$110.000 is a paltry sum, however, to pay for a high-tech research project. Bloomberg notes that the Tor Project, “funded in part by the U.S. government,” pulled in $3.53 million last year.