31 October 2013, 15:32

Snowden will not share info on surveillance of foreign leaders by NSA - lawyer

Anatoly Kucherena

Anatoly Kucherena

Anatoly Kucherena

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden will not answer questions from foreign special services regarding the NSA's secret surveillance of leaders of countries that are the US' allies, says Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.

"Snowden is staying in Russia in line with Russian law, and he cannot travel abroad, as in this case he would lose his current status. In addition, according to the existing agreements, he cannot disclose classified information while staying in Russia," Kucherena told Interfax on Thursday.

Snowden finds job in Russia - Kucherena

Ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden will be working for the support team of one of the largest Russian websites, Anatoly Kucherena has said.

Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia, found a job and starting November 1 will be working for the support team of one of the largest Russian websites, Kucherena representing Snowden in Russia, informed journalists.

"Edward starts working from November 1. He will pe part of the support team of one of the largest Russian websites. I can’t say the name of the website now for security reasons," Kucherena added.

Mail.Ru Group and Yandex had not negotiated with Snowden on the subject of his employment, the press services of these Internet companies told ITAR-TASS. A representative of Vkontakte refused to comment on Snowden’s possible employment by the company.

Earlier, in August, Pavel Durov, Vkontakte’s founder, invited Snowden to join his team. He offered ex-CIA contractor to apply his skills in protecting the personal data of the social network’s users. However, Snowden shut down the job offer. Durov says he still hopes Snowden will take the job.

Edward Snowden to take a job in Russia soon – Kucherena

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden is planning to take a job in Russia in the near future, lawyer and head of a Public Chamber commission Anatoly Kucherena said on Thursday.

He did not specify the field Snowden had chosen to enter. "No comments, but as soon as he makes a decision, we will say it at once," Kucherena promised.

The lawyer does not rule out that other of Snowden’s relatives aside from his father will come to Russia to visit Edward.

"They will probably come, but I don’t know when… I saw his father off yesterday," Kucherena said.

He refused to disclose Snowden’s whereabouts for security reasons.

Snowden's father advises him to stay in Russia

Edward Snowden's father Lon says that he has advised his son to stay in Russia.

Lon Snowden said this soon after his return to New York from Moscow.

He also added that his son feels comfortable in Russia, and thanked Russia's authorities for granting asylum to Edward.

Snowden the senior added that he liked it very much in Russia and hopes to visit Russia again.

Earlier, Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said that the issue of granting a job in Russia for his client will be solved in the nearest future.

Russia granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden on August 1, after he had spent more than a month in the transit zone of Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.

Returning to the US would have meant a threat of up to 20 years in prison for Edward, because the US authorities are charging him of espionage.

US Justice Department joins lawsuit against firm that vetted Snowden

The US Justice Department said on Wednesday it had joined a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower against United States Investigations Services, the private firm that vetted Edward Snowden before he leaked documents about US spying efforts.

While the lawsuit is not about the firm's review of Snowden, it alleges that USIS failed to perform quality control reviews in connection with its background investigations. It was originally filed in Alabama more than two years ago.

The government's decision to join the lawsuit adds to building public pressure on the firm, which is the US government's biggest contractor for investigations of potential employees. The firm also vetted Aaron Alexis, the technology contractor who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last month.

A USIS spokeswoman said the firm was cooperating with the government's investigation and had replaced its leadership and improved its controls since they first heard of the allegations last year.

The firm has had a contract since 1996 to vet individuals seeking employment with federal agencies. Such background checks include investigative fieldwork on each application.

But since 2008, the firm used software to release investigations that were not yet complete in order to meet revenue targets, the government said.

The firm concealed the practice, known as "dumping," and improperly billed the federal Office of Personnel Management for the work, the DOJ said.

"The behavior by a small number of employees alleged in the complaint is completely inconsistent with our company values, culture and tradition of outstanding service to our government customers," the USIS spokeswoman said in an email.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2011 by a former employee of the firm, Blake Percival, under the False Claims Act. The law that lets people collect rewards for blowing the whistle on fraud against the government.

Percival said in the lawsuit that he was fired in June 2011 for refusing orders to "dump" cases that were not finished.

As a result of the Justice Department's decision to join, a judge unsealed the original lawsuit in US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The department is now scheduled to file a revised complaint by January 22.

"We will not tolerate shortcuts taken by companies that we have entrusted with vetting individuals to be given access to our country's sensitive and secret information," a Justice Department official, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery, said in a statement.

The news of the lawsuit came the day before a US Senate hearing scheduled to examine government clearances and background checks. Elaine Kaplan, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is among the expected witnesses.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, TASS, Reuters

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