Edward Snowden 'living incognito in Russia'
Shaun Walker in Moscow
Edward Snowden's lawyer says he had received many offers of help, including from a 50-year-old woman to adopt him. Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty ImagesEdward Snowden is living under guard at a secret location in Russia, but is able to travel around the country freely without being recognised, according to the Russian lawyer of the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor.
Whistleblower's lawyer says he has security protection but can travel freely and plays down prospect of US bid to capture him
"We believe the danger remains quite high and, as I see it, it is impossible at the moment to reveal where he's living or to talk openly about it," said Anatoly Kucherena in an interview with the Kremlin-funded television channel Russia Today, excerpts of which were released on Tuesdayyesterday.
Kucherena said Snowden had security protection, but was evasive about whether this was provided by the Russian state, noting that there were many private security firms in Russia.
Snowden is wanted by the US for leaking details of government surveillance programmes to the Guardian. He has not been seen in public since he landed in Moscow on a flight from Hong Kong in June. He spent several weeks in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, before he was granted asylum by Russia and left the airport on 1 August.
A meeting that Snowden held with human rights activists during his time at the airport and a grainy photograph of him getting into a car when leaving Sheremetyevo are the only traces left by the fugitive whistleblower.
Western diplomats and Russian government sources say they have no idea where he is staying or whether he has the protection of the Russian state or its security services.
President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, referred this month to Snowden as "a strange guy" and said life in Russia would not be easy for him.
"In effect, he condemned himself to a rather difficult life," said Putin. "I do not have the faintest idea about what he will do next."
According to Kucherena, Snowden has been moving unimpeded around Russia, despite the secrecy.
"He walks around. He can travel. He does travel, because he is interested in our history," said the lawyer, adding that nobody had yet recognised Snowden on his travels.
Kucherena admitted it was unlikely that the US government would attempt an audacious operation on Russian soil to capture Snowden, but said he had to remain vigilant. "I don't think that is going to happen but we saw American special forces intervening in other countries. Also, our citizens get detained abroad and transferred to US territory."
He said that Snowden had "the same rights and responsibilities as any Russian citizen" and had received a large number of job offers, as well as messages from Russians offering to help.
One of the more unusual suggestions came from a 50-year-old woman, who inquired whether it might be possible to adopt Snowden.