Snowden breaks silence amid request for asylum in Russia, reportedly vows to continue leaking
NSA leaker Edward Snowden broke his weeklong silence Monday, defending his “right to seek asylum” while separately claiming he remains “free and able” to publish sensitive information on U.S. surveillance.
The statement came as it was reported Snowden now seeking asylum in Russia, which says it will not grant him refuge unless he stops leaking.
In his statement issued on theWikiLeaks website, Snowden attacked the Obama administration, saying, “On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
“This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”
Snowden added, “In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.”
Separately, Reuters reported that in a letter from Snowden to Ecuador President Rafael Correa, he declared, "I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest. No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world.”
It was the first known statement from Snowden since he flew out of Hong Kong into Moscow more than a week ago.
Since then, Snowden has been seeking asylum in Ecuador. But he also reportedly is seeking asylum in a number of other countries, including Russia.
The Interfax news agency quoted a Russian official on Monday as saying that Snowden's representative, Sarah Harrison, handed over his request for political asylum on Sunday.
Yet Russia's President Vladimir Putin publicly issued a condition for any asylum request from Snowden -- he must stop leaking America's secrets.
"If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do so," Putin said. "If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound coming from my lips."
Snowden’s letter to Ecuador gave no indication he plans to meet that condition, though the letter may have been sent before Putin’s comments.
Putin addressed the controversy as Obama, during a visit to Tanzania, reiterated that he's "hopeful" Russia will take up the United States' request for extradition.
"There have been high-level discussions with the Russians about trying to find a solution to the problem," Obama said.
Officials still believe Snowden is in the transit zone somewhere in the Moscow airport. He found his status even more in limbo late last week, after Ecuador revoked travel documents that WikiLeaks, which is aiding Snowden, got from a lower-level Ecuadorian official.
With the U.S. also revoking Snowden's passport, Snowden has no apparent way -- at the moment -- to leave the Moscow airport without risking arrest.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, while saying he could not confirm Snowden's latest asylum request, reiterated that the U.S. can issue Snowden "one-entry travel documents" back to the United States, where he would presumably face the charges against him.
Link: Snowden breaks silence amid request for asylum in Russia, reportedly vows to continue leaking | Fox News
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