By Steve Gutterman
Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has found a job working for a website in Russia, where he was granted asylum after fleeing the United States, a Russian lawyer who is helping him said on Thursday.
“Edward starts work in November,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to state-run news agency RIA.
“He will provide support for a large Russian site,” he said, adding that he would not name the site “for security reasons”.
Snowden, 30, a former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed secret U.S. internet telephone surveillance programmes, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia in June.
President Vladimir Putin has rejected U.S. pleas to send Snowden home to face charges including espionage, and the temporary asylum he was granted in early August can be extended annually.
Snowden’s location in Russia has not been disclosed and since July he has appeared only in a handful of photographs and video clips from a meeting this month with visiting former U.S. national security officials who support his cause.
Putin, a former KGB spy, said repeatedly that Russia would only shelter Snowden if he stopped harming the United States.
But state media have treated him as a whistleblower and the decision to grant him asylum seemed to underscore Putin’s accusations that the U.S. government preaches to the world about rights and freedoms it does not uphold at home.
Putin has dismissed the widespread assumption that Russian intelligence officers had grilled Snowden for information after he arrived, and Kucherena has portrayed him as trying to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.
He said earlier that he hoped Snowden would find a job because he was living on scant funds, mostly from donations.
A tabloid news site on Thursday published what it said was a photo of Snowden on a Moscow river cruise this summer, and the same site earlier published a photo of a man who looked like Snowden pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket parking lot.
Kucherena was not immediately available for comment, an aide said.