Snowden reportedly close to broke

While his asylum applications were free, the cost of living as a fugitive has drained the whistle-blower's savings

By Natasha Lennard

Published November 12, 2013 7:14PM (EST)

Edward Snowden's international profile may have skyrocketed, but his bank balance has reportedly seriously dwindled through covering rent, security and living costs in Russia, where he has been granted asylum.

Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden's lawyer, told a Russian newspaper that his whistle-blowing client was close to broke. He reportedly has taken a job at a Russian website while also receiving funds from "some organizations and enterprising citizens."

The Daily Beast reported in July that Snowden had drawn a significant bump in donations to WikiLeaks, when the whistle-blowing site made the former NSA contractor a cause célèbre. Although a transparency advocacy website, it has been noted -- and admitted by Julian Assange himself -- that WikiLeaks' financial operations are consistently shadowy and obfuscated from the public. It's also known that Snowden's various asylum requests have been handled by pro-bono civil liberties legal group the Center For Constitutional Rights. The asylum requests themselves do not carry a fee.

Thomas Drake, Snowden's forerunner in NSA whistle-blowing, who faced Espionage Act charges that were eventually dropped, told me earlier this year that one of the greatest burdens that attended his life qua whistle-blower was near financial ruination.

Thus it is the sheer costs of fugitive life that have drained Snowden's funds to the extent that, his lawyer says, he is close to broke.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Asylum Broke Edward Snowden Finances Julian Assange Nsa Russia Thomas Drake Whistle-blowing Wikileaks