Published August 01, 2013
LONDON – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russian soil, ending weeks of limbo. This is how the story developed:
May 20: Edward Snowden, 29, arrives in Hong Kong, just after taking leave from his National Security Agency contracting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
June 5: A British newspaper, the Guardian, reports that the NSA is collecting the telephone records of millions of American customers of Verizon under a secret court order. Security experts say the records of other phone companies are also involved. Subsequent stories by the Guardian and The Washington post contain further surveillance revelations.
June 9: Snowden, who claims to have worked at the National Security Agency and the CIA, allows himself to be identified as the source of disclosures about the secret U.S. surveillance programs. Snowden tells the Guardian his "sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
June 10: Snowden checks out of his Hong Kong hotel, new whereabouts unknown. A day later, Booz Allen Hamilton says it has fired Snowden "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy."
June 12: The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong says it interviewed Snowden at a secret location. "I am not here to hide from justice. I am here to reveal criminality," it quoted Snowden as saying.
June 14: British government issues worldwide alert to airlines, urging them not to allow Snowden aboard flights to the United Kingdom.
June 19: Iceland says a spokesman for secret-spilling organization WikiLeaks who claims to represent Snowden has contacted to government officials about a possible application for asylum.
June 22: Unsealed criminal complaint shows the U.S. government has charged Snowden with espionage and theft, and the National Security Council says U.S. officials have contacted authorities in Hong Kong for Snowden's extradition.
June 23: Snowden leaves Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow.
June 24: Snowden has a seat booked on an Aeroflot flight bound for Cuba, but is not seen on board. WikiLeaks officials say Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador, Iceland and possibly other countries.
June 25: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Snowden is in the transit zone of a Moscow airport and will not be extradited to the United States, adding that he is free to go anywhere. Without a U.S. passport, Snowden is effectively stranded. The White House says Russia has a "clear legal basis" to expel the leaker.
June 27: President Barack Obama says he won't engage in "wheeling, dealing and trading" to get Snowden extradited to the U.S.
July 1: Putin says Snowden will have to stop leaking U.S. secrets if he wants asylum in Russia — which he says is something Snowden doesn't want to do.
July 2: Wikileaks says Snowden is seeking asylum in 19 more countries, including China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and India.
July 3: A plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was rerouted to Austria after various European countries refused to let it cross their airspace because of suspicions that Snowden was on board. European nations later apologize.
July 5: Wikileaks says Snowden has put in asylum applications to six new countries, which it does not identify. The next day, the presidents of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia say Snowden is welcome in their countries.
July 12: Snowden meets activists and Russian officials, says he is willing to stop leaking secrets about U.S. surveillance programs if Russia will give him asylum until he can move on to Latin America.
July 16: Snowden asks his lawyer to submit a request for temporary asylum in Russia, claiming he faces persecution from the U.S. government and could face torture or death.
July 26: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tells the Russian government that the U.S. will not seek the death penalty for Snowden.
Aug. 1: Snowden leaves airport after Russia grants asylum for one year.