Ellen Barry, New York Times Moscow correspondent, in her wrap-up of a dramatic day in the Edward Snowden story:
In a high-profile spectacle that had the hallmarks of a Kremlin-approved event, Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor, broke his silence after three weeks of seclusion on Friday, telling a handpicked group of Russian public figures that he hoped to receive political asylum in Russia.
No press were permitted inside the meeting; no photographers, no recordings, no audio, no video.
Tanya Lokshina, who is Russia program director of Human Rights Watch, was one of the 11 or so individuals invited to the meeting. The day she met Edward Snowden was "No Ordinary Day in Moscow," she writes:
When I received an email late Thursday from one “Edward Snowden” I was naturally skeptical. The invitation, supposedly from one of the world’s most sought-after people, had a whiff of Cold War-era spy thriller to it. The note instructed me to go to the arrivals hall of Sheremetyevo Airport, where “someone from airport staff will be waiting there to receive you with a sign labeled ‘G9.’” What would you think?
Even as the media calls started flooding in, I was still thinking it might all be a hoax. While I juggled spooning mashed carrots into the mouth of my wailing child and talking to the BBC – journalists and babies are equally needy – I was still half thinking this wasn’t going to happen.
And then the phone rang.
Catch up on our coverage of the story this week:
• "Obama to Putin, on the phone (probably): Dude, don't even think about granting Snowden asylum"
• "Edward Snowden's statement on seeking asylum in Russia, as published by Wikileaks"
• "Edward Snowden speaks at Moscow airport, seeks Russia asylum en route to Latin America"
• "S. American nations to recall ambassadors from Europe over Bolivian Snowden-panic plane incident"
• "How the US forces internet companies to cooperate on spying, or else"
• "Video from Edward Snowden's statement in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport"
• "Obama to pressure Putin to give up Snowden; White House says he's not a dissident"
• "Latin American governments' outrage over US spying ignores their own"
Lukin told @tikhondzyadko that he hadn't seen that many journalists since August 21, 1991. August putsch v. Gorby— Ellen Barry (@EllenBarryNYT) July 12, 2013
"I got the sense that Mr. Snowden does not exactly understand what his fate will be," Lukin said.— Ellen Barry (@EllenBarryNYT) July 12, 2013
Did Assange ever express any support for fellow whistleblower #Magnitsky who never got to Moscow airport but died instead in a Russian cell?— Roger Boyes (@rogerboyes) July 12, 2013
Clever Amerika. We're driven #Snowden into the arms of our "partner" Putin.— John Perry Barlow (@JPBarlow) July 12, 2013