Russia letting Snowden stay longer

Russia letting Snowden stay longer
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Russia has agreed to extend Edward Snowden's residence permit for a "couple of years," The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

CNN reported that the former National Security Agency contractor's leave to stay in Russia was extended until 2020.

Snowden, who has been living in Russia since 2013, is facing espionage charges for leaking classified information on controversial surveillance programs.

In 2014, he received a three-year extension to his leave to stay in Russia.

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President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks. Snowden, who long advocated commuting Manning's sentence, cheered the president on Twitter.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said last week there are differences between Manning's and Snowden's cases.

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” the spokesman told reporters Friday.

“Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy,” he said of the former contractor.

On Tuesday, Earnest all but ruled out a pardon for Snowden, saying he has not filed the proper paperwork with the Justice Department.