Lawyer: Snowden vows to stop leaking secrets, asks Russia for asylum

Edward Snowden has officially applied for temporary asylum in Russia and pledged to abide by Moscow’s demands that he cease leaking more information that could damage the United States, according to a pro-Kremlin lawyer involved in the National Security Agency leaker's case.

Anatoly Kucherena said he had met with Snowden earlier Tuesday and that "the application has been filed with the Russian authorities" through the country's Federal Migration Service, according to Agence France-Presse.


Kucherena also told ABC News that Snowden has agreed to "abide by the conditions" outlined by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said earlier this month that Snowden would need to stop disclosing secrets that are harmful to the United States.

"I will fulfill his condition," Snowden said, according to Kucherena.

Still unclear is whether Snowden can or will attempt to prevent journalists, including The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, from publishing stories based on information he has already turned over but has not yet been reported.

Human rights workers who met with Snowden last week suggested that the former Defense contractor did not believe his revelations had harmed the U.S., suggesting he might attempt to argue that the leaks could continue.

Press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that while there were "regular communications" between the U.S. government and Russia, he was unaware of any effort by the White House to reach out to Putin now that Snowden had officially requested asylum.

Carney said that the administration's "message has been clear and consistent with every government" on how they believed Snowden should be handled.

"Our position is that Mr. Snowden ought to be expelled and returned to the United States," Carney said, saying that Snowden would be offered "every bit of due process" to which he was entitled and arguing that he was "not a human rights activist" or "dissident."

This should not be something that causes long-term problems for U.S.-Russia relations," Carney said.

The White House spokesman also said there were no updates to the president's travel schedule, which includes a planned trip to Russia in the fall. There has been some speculation that Obama could boycott the trip if Snowden was granted asylum.

"The president intends to travel to Russia in September for the G-20 summit," Carney said.

Asked if he was being "intentionally vague" about the president's travel plans — and especially whether Obama would proceed, as originally planned, on a separate trip to Moscow — Carney cracked a smile.

"I don't have anything to add," he repeated.

On Monday, Putin suggested that Snowden had begun to comply, saying that he had been winding down his “political activity” against the United States.

Putin also blamed the U.S. for the standoff, saying that Washington had effectively trapped Snowden at a Moscow airport by revoking his travel documents.

“He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” Putin said, according to reports. “He didn’t fly to us; he flew in transit to other countries. But only when it became known that he was in the air, our American partners, in fact, blocked him from flying further.

“They themselves scared all other countries; no one wants to take him, and in this way they themselves in fact blocked him on our territory. Such a present for us for Christmas.”

On Friday, Snowden said in a statement he would ask for the temporary asylum in Russia with the hope of traveling to the Latin American countries that have offered him a permanent home.

"I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted," Snowden said in a statement issued by WikiLeaks. "I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably."

The 30-year-old former Defense contractor has been holed up in a Moscow airport for nearly three weeks after fleeing Hong Kong shortly after admitting to having leaked details of top-secret NSA surveillance programs. Snowden faces espionage charges in the United States.

The Obama administration has been exerting intense pressure on Latin American countries to refuse Snowden asylum, The New York Times reported, with State Department officials and diplomats across the region warning of lasting consequences to U.S. relations if countries accept him. Nevertheless, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador have all offered him asylum.

—This story was first posted at 8:15 a.m. and last updated at 1:53 p.m.