Snowden Still Stuck at Transit Lounge, As Congress Votes on NSA Amendment

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Looks like Edward Snowden is still stuck.

According to the reports Wednesday morning, NSA leaker Edward Snowden was supposed to leave his isolated transit area today, after being granted an official pass to leave Sheremetyevo airport. Now, Snowden's Russian lawyer says he's run into bureaucratic snags, and will not be allowed to leave the airport as he had hoped. 

HIs lawyer added that Snowden "intends to stay in Russia, study Russian culture" and that he "looks well. I can't say he is happy or sad. He is in a situation when he is waiting for Russia's decision. He asked what to do next if he is refused asylum in Russia. He's trying to be brave."

Snowden has been in the transit area for the last month, where he has been in limbo while seeking asylum in another country.  He's been charged with espionage by the United States for leaking NSA documents. 

Meanwhile, The House of Representatives is set to vote Wednesday on legislation that would severely limit the NSA's sweeping surveillance powers, in one of the first actions Congress has taken against the agency since Snowden spilled the PRISM beans. 

The measure — which is being put forward as an amendment to a 2014 defense spending bill — would limit the National Security Agency's authority by making the agency prove that a specific person is under investigation before collecting data records.

The amendment was introduced by House of Representatives Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who said that it "blocks funding of NSA's collection of personal data if that data does not pertain to a person under investigation."

The White House is urging against the measure, however, claiming that the strict limitation would make the intelligence agencies less able to prevent terror attacks.

"This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process," said presidential spokesman Jay Carney. "We urge the House to reject the Amash amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation."

The NSA's invasive techniques have of course come under careful examination since ex-contractor Edward Snowden revealed the breadth of the agency's data-collection to the Guardian and The Washington Post.










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