NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is free to leave his Tom-Hanks-in-The-Terminal* style life behind after getting a pass to exit the transit zone of Russia's Sheremetyevo Airport.
According to local media, including state news website Ria Novosti, Snowden has been given the document that allows him to exit the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo-2 airport, "provided the border service does not object". He received the paper when he submitted his asylum request to the country.
Snowden, who's wanted in the States for leaking details of a cyber-snooping project that tracked email and internet data of American citizens, has been stuck in the terminal since he landed with a revoked US passport there on a flight from Hong Kong on 23 June.
It was only over three weeks later, on 16 July, that the former CIA contractor formally requested asylum in Russia, after trying Ecuador and a few other places first. Russia's Federal Migration Service has so far been keeping his chances of success to itself, although President Vladimir Putin has referred to him as an "unwanted gift" and made it clear that he showed up in the country "without invitation". However, the Russian president did say at the time that the application might go through if Snowden were to give up "work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners". ®
* A movie that's partially based on the real-life 17-year stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris