Ex-NSA man Edward Snowden gets web job in Russia

Edward Snowden in a file photo Edward Snowden is keeping a very low profile in Russia

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has found a new job, his lawyer says.

The former US spy agency contractor will work for a major private website in Russia, where he was granted asylum after fleeing the United States.

"Edward starts work in November," his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Mr Snowden, 30, fled to Russia in June after leaking details of far-reaching US telephone espionage.

Mr Kucherena would not disclose which site has employed Mr Snowden, citing security concerns.

However, Mr Snowden had a very public job offer earlier this year from the head of VKontakte, a popular social networking site seen as a rival to Facebook.

Pavel Durov, who founded VKontakte in 2006, invited Mr Snowden through a post on his own webpage to join the company's St Petersburg headquarters to work on data protection.

Unknown location

Little has been heard of Mr Snowden's private life in Russia, where he has lived since being granted temporary asylum in August.

Leaks from the former intelligence analyst have rocked the US government, revealing an extensive programme of espionage that covered China, Russia and Western allies including Germany and Brazil. The US wants him extradited to face trial on criminal charges.

Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena shows the document allowing Edward Snowden to remain in Russia (file photo) Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena shows the document allowing Edward Snowden to remain in Russia

Mr Snowden spent more than a month in a hotel at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before being allowed into the country.

It is unclear whether he remains in Moscow, though tabloid pictures of the former contractor occasionally surface.

A Russian website, Life News, this week published a smartphone picture it said was purchased from a reader for 100,000 rubles (£1,943), purporting to show Mr Snowden taking a boat trip down the Moscow River through the city's centre. Mr Snowden was without his trademark glasses but wearing a red shirt and cream-coloured cap; the photo's background includes Moscow's landmark Christ the Saviour cathedral.

Learning Russian

In an accompanying interview, Mr Kucherena told Life News that Mr Snowden was learning to speak Russian and had visited the Kremlin and other museums and cities in the country.

"He's already gone a pretty long way, in terms of Russian words, in terms of knowledge of our culture...

"For the time being, given his interest in Russia, given the attitude of Russians towards him ... given the love for him, he's receiving a fair amount of correspondence, and I don't think he has any desire to leave for another country at the moment," Mr Kucherena said.

The lawyer did not disclose where Mr Snowden is living but said he will work in information technology at "our country's largest website".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview recently that Mr Snowden could "feel safe" in Russia, though he told the Associated Press news agency that he found him "a strange guy".

VKontakte has itself come under pressure from the Russian government, as legislators try to gain more control over what is said online. Mr Durov's residence and VKontakte headquarters were both raided by police earlier this year, ostensibly in a traffic accident investigation.

The site has nearly 80 million users, according to industry researcher Comscore, including about 47 million inside Russia, and is controversial for allowing users access to pirated music and video content.

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