Snowden never traded secrets for money - lawyer
“The savings he had, he has almost entirely spent on food, rent, security and so on,” Anatoly Kucherena told Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta in an interview.
Snowden, who leaked the US global surveillance documents, is relying on “enterprising citizens and organizations who offer him different kinds of assistance, including financial,” Kucherena said.
Kucherena decided to help Snowden because the whistleblower did not have anyone else to turn to in Russia. “He does not have his mom, dad, or any other relatives around.” Kucherena has been assisting Snowden not only with his legal status, but also in figuring out other aspects of Russian life. “It was almost impossible to say ‘no’ to him, as he is all alone in Russia,” he said.
Snowden’s passport was revoked while flying from Hong Kong to Moscow. However, the US government was unable to revoke the whistleblower’s citizenship.
“When I spoke with US embassy representatives, they insisted on a meeting with Snowden, but he kept refusing. I told them that he has not been arrested and was not charged with any crimes in Russia. So his freedom was not limited, and he was within his rights to decide whether to meet with them or not,” Kucherena stated.
“Americans themselves created this problem. When I proposed for them to reissue his passport, so he would decide for himself where he wanted to go, they told me: ‘We can re-issue his passport only to enter the US.’”
It was recently revealed that Snowden might testify concerning espionage allegations against the US and the UK, as Germany is considering the possibility of questioning the whistleblower in Moscow.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel – whose private mobile phone was also allegedly bugged by American security services – warned earlier that spying among friends was unacceptable. Merkel also demanded that Washington sign up to a 'no-spying' agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of this year.
Kucherena said that Snowden will probably testify as a “witness,” stating that it will be safer for him to do so in Russia since Germany might be forced by law to “surrender Snowden to US once he lands in Germany.”
The whistleblower rose to international prominence after leaking several classified documents detailing massive electronic surveillance by the US government and foreign allies who collaborated with them.
Snowden was hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel when he first went public in May. Amid mounting US pressure on local authorities and Beijing to hand over the whistleblower for prosecution, Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23. He received temporary asylum in Russia in August, allowing him to live and work in the country for one year.
Snowden is currently residing in an unknown location in Moscow.