The first official picture of whistleblower Edward Snowden since he was granted asylum in Russia has been released.

The former US National Security Agency systems analyst said he was settling into life in the country and expressed no regrets about leaking highly classified information.

He was photographed with four fellow whistleblowers, the first Americans known to have met with him since his asylum bid was accepted in August.

He was handed the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award (SAAII) alongside UK WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, who took him from Hong Kong to Moscow and obtained his asylum.

Presenting the award were US government whistleblowers, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former NSA executive Thomas Drake, former Department of Justice adviser Jesselyn Raddack and retired CIA officer Ray McGovern.

Mr Drake said he believed Snowden was “making the best of his circumstances and is living as normally as possible”.

The gathering came ahead of the arrival of Mr Snowden’s father, Lon, in Moscow to see his son.

Lon Snowden told Russian television outside Moscow’s airport that he doubts his son will return to the United States, where he is charged with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing NSA’s highly classified surveillance of phone and internet usage around the world.

“I’m not sure that my son will be returning to the US again,” he said, but added that “that’s his decision.”

Edward Snowden was stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month after his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

His whereabouts remain secret although his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, insists he lives in Russia.

source: skynews