MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) tried to recruit former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shortly after his arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in 2013, but he refused to cooperate with Russian intelligence agents, his attorney Anatoly Kucherena told TASS.
"Shortly after Snowden arrived in Russia by plane, the FSB's people tried to recruit him. However, he rejected their recruitment offer. That’s why it took so long to process the documents for his temporary asylum," Kucherena stated.
Snowden, a whistleblower who fled to Russia after exposing a mass surveillance scheme by the US government, claimed in his newly released book entitled Permanent Record that he had received an offer to work for Russia’s intelligence services shortly after his arrival in June 2013. The former NSA contractor revealed that this conversation was held at the airport’s business hall in the presence of WikiLeaks adviser Sarah Harrison. When he was approached by a Russian FSB agent, Snowden turned down the offer.
According to Kucherena, Snowden still has problems as a result of his refusal to work for the FSB. "He has some difficulties with finding employment. Actually, the lectures that he gives in Russia and the income he receives from them is all that he has," Snowden’s lawyer pointed out.
The US Department of Justice has sued the whistleblower for publishing his memoirs, which it said violates the non-disclosure agreements he had signed with both the CIA and NSA. Kucherena said he and Snowden’s American attorney were weighing how to respond to the lawsuit. "But it’s obvious that the US authorities won’t leave Snowden alone. It’s not a coincidence that his asylum request had been rejected by 27 countries," he noted.
In 2013, Snowden leaked information on the methods of electronic surveillance by US intelligence services, including illegally wiretapping foreign leaders’ conversations. Fleeing from prosecution, Snowden sent requests for asylum to some countries, including Russia. On August 1, 2014, he received a Russian residence permit valid for three years, which was later extended for another three years.
In the United States, Snowden has been charged with two counts of violating the Espionage Act. He may face up to 10 years behind bars on each count. The US authorities have repeatedly stated that they considered Snowden a ‘traitor’ and were not going to pardon him since he had caused ‘grave’ damage to ‘national security’ interests.