Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has landed a job at a Russian website, after fleeing America and seeking asylum in Moscow, his lawyer said on Thursday.
"Edward starts work in November… He will provide support for a large Russian site," lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to state-run news agency RIA. Kucherena added that the site could not be named for security reasons.
Barack Obama's government has been seeking Snowden's return ever since he fled to Hong Kong then Russia in June, after leaking documents to the international press about the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance program.
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His explosive revelations have strained tensions between Washington and several major allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent an adviser to quiz officials in the U.S. over allegations they tapped her phone calls, while European Union politicians held a series of inquiries last month into the surveillance claims and called for the suspension of a key data sharing agreement with America.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has rejected calls from the U.S. for Snowden's return and said that his temporary asylum could be further extended, creating more tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
Snowden's location in Russia has been kept secret and he has only been spotted in a few pictures and videos. Earlier this month he met with four former U.S. government officials who supported his cause.
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U.S lawmakers are locked in a tussle over the spying allegations at home. Patrick Leahy, the Democrat chairman of the Senate judiciary committee has co-sponsored a bill that places significant limits on the NSA's surveillance actions, called the USA Freedom Act. But the head of the NSA, Keith Alexander, defended the agency, saying it acts within the law.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday that it had joined a lawsuit against United States Investigations Services, the firm that hired Snowden. While the legal proceedings are not about the company's handling of Snowden, they claim the firm failed to carry out quality background checks. The lawsuit was originally filed more than two years ago.