Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has filed papers asking Russian authorities to extend his asylum for another year, his lawyer said Wednesday.
"The procedure is very simple if a citizen of any country would like to stay and live in Russia," lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Russian-based news service RT. "In this case we are talking about Snowden, so we have fulfilled the procedure to receive temporary asylum."
Snowden, whose asylum expires July 31, was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton when he leaked details of U.S. surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. The first report was published in June 2013, setting off an immediate firestorm. Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong at the time, fled to Moscow where he obtained temporary asylum.
Kucherena did not say if Snowden would seek his permit with a different status such as citizenship, RT reported.
"The decision lies with the Federal Migration Service," Kucherena told RT when asked what status they would like to get.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia was not "protecting" Snowden, but that Russia had no legal basis to extradite him.
Snowden has expressed interest in returning to the United States, but fears charges of espionage and theft of government property could result in a lengthy prison sentence.
Fallout from Snowden's revelations continues to make headlines.
Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters to break the Snowden story last year, reported Wednesday that the NSA and FBI have "covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans — including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies."
Citing Snowden documents, Greenwald said that list includes Faisal Gill, a longtime GOP operative and former candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance under President George W. Bush.
Earlier this weekThe Washington Post detailed its four-month review of 160,000 intercepted e-mail and text message conversations involving 11,000 online accounts provided by Snowden. The Post reports that about 90% of the information involves names and e-mail addresses of U.S. residents.
The NSA can only target foreign nationals living overseas unless it obtains a warrant from a special surveillance court. But the Post said visitors to online chat rooms also visited by a target or merely reading the discussion were included in the data sweeps.