The Associated Press reports Russia has granted asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
He left the transit zone of Moscow airport and his lawyer says Snowden's whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement in reaction to the news:
“If these reports are accurate, Americans in Washington should consider this a game changer in our relationship with Russia. Mr. Snowden has been charged with serious crimes and has put American lives at risk at home and abroad.
“Today's action by the Russian government could not be more provocative and is a sign of Vladimir Putin's clear lack of respect for President Obama. It is now time for Congress, hopefully in conjunction with the Administration, to make it clear to the Russian government that this provocative step in granting Snowden asylum will be met with a firm response.”
The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin dismissed the request.
Putin had said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets.