The Russian state news agency said Wednesday that U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has been given documents to leave a Moscow airport transit zone and enter the country while officials consider his request for asylum.
Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, last month leaked details of American surveillance programs conducted by the clandestine National Security Agency. After first fleeing to Hong Kong, he has been encamped at the Moscow airport for a month while seeking asylum in numerous countries to avoid facing espionage charges in the U.S.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused a request from U.S. President Barack Obama to expel Snowden so he can stand trial in the U.S. Three leftist governments in Latin America -- Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua -- have offered Snowden asylum.
But after the U.S. revoked his passport, Snowden has not been able to leave the Moscow airport.
The 30-year-old Snowden says he wants to eventually head to Latin America. But last week, in a handwritten note, he asked Russia to grant him temporary asylum.