Lawyer dismisses allegations of Snowden spying for Russia [Xinhua]

MOSCOW, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) — Gossips about alleged involvement of the Russian secret services to the saga of the former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden are “utter rave,” Snowden’s lawyer said Wednesday.

“This is utter rave and provocation,” the Interfax news agency quoted Anatoly Kucherena as saying.

According to Kucherena, Snowden was forced to do what he has done by the U.S. authorities themselves.

He reminded that Snowden’s initial intention was to go to Latin America but the whistleblower was trapped in Moscow after Washington cancelled his passport en route.

Kucherena suggested that if his client has reached Ecuador or any other country, the U.S. would accuse him of cooperation with that country’s secret services.

In October, Kucherena said Snowden found a job in Russia.

Earlier Wednesday, in an interview with the New Yorker magazine, the National Security Agency leaker also dismissed allegations that he was spying for Russia.

In a phone interview, Snowden said the claims were baseless, as the spies were better treated than “being left to live in a Moscow airport for more than a month while in legal limbo.”

The fugitive whistleblower has been in Russia since last June. In August, Snowden has obtained a yearlong residential permit in Russia as a refugee to avoid penalty for leaking some 1.7 million secret documents to the media.

His status will be canceled once Snowden leaves Russia.

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