Putin: Snowden 'Shifting Position' on Meeting Asylum Conditions

(CNN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that American intelligence leaker Edward Snowden appears to be "shifting his position somewhat" when it comes to meeting Russia's conditions for asylum, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Putin's comments on Snowden, made during a conversation with Russian Geographical Society students, came after Snowden told human rights activists and lawyers Friday that he wants temporary asylum while he awaits safe passage to Latin America.

Putin had said earlier that Snowden would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners" if he wanted to stay in the country. That reportedly prompted Snowden to withdraw an asylum request in early July.

But on Friday, Snowden reportedly said that he will not harm the United States in the future.

"[Snowden] knows about the conditions about getting a political asylum," Putin said Monday, according to RIA Novosti. "Judging by his latest statements, he is shifting his position somewhat, and the final outcome is still unknown."

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, leaked documents to the media that exposed U.S. mass surveillance programs. After he publicly identified himself as the leaker last month, he left Hong Kong for Russia, where he is believed to have been holed up in a transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Snowden has been technically a free man while in Moscow but has been unable to travel after U.S. authorities revoked his passport when the United States charged him with espionage.


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