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TODAY   |  August 01, 2013

Snowden granted asylum, leaves Moscow airport

Having been granted three to six months’ asylum in Russia while a final decision on permanent asylum for him is reviewed, NSA leaker Edward Snowden and has left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

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>>> breaking news in moscow , there are reports that nsa leaker edward snowden has gotten papers to leave the moscow airport, that he's been living in the airport for more than a month now after arriving from hong kong . nbc's jim meseda is on the phone from moscow . what can you tell us?

>> reporter: i think i'm on the air right now. i'm not quite sure. i'll tell you what i know. edward snowden has received that permit for temporary asylum. the idea was that, while he was waiting five or six days normally into that, there is an agreement to basically accept the temporary asylum as a case to review. during that time, which can take three to six months, normally he or anyone else in that situation is issued a special i.d. card or permit, allowing that person to travel even, certainly to leave the airport transit zone, and to live a fairly normal life until that asylum is agreed to or rejected. again, woer tae're talking about a three to six-month period. we have confirmation from russian authorities today that that permit was issued. minutes after that, we had word on the wires, ap and rueters, that they had left the airport. we immediately called his lawyer through his assistant, confirming all of the above, that he had, in fact, left the airport. when we asked them where he was going, he said that he would not say, the assistant would not say for security reasons. it was not clear whether he was in -- still in moscow or planning on going somewhere else in the country. so this happening about two weeks now after the initial request for temporary asylum, and, again, savannah, that can take three or six months. we just don't know right now -- we will find out hopefully in the course of the day, where, in fact, he pops up. back to you.

>> thank you, jim.