NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may seek asylum in Russia and agree to stop spilling American secrets.
According to npr.com, immigration officials in Russia say they’ve not received any application from Snowden, the man accused of leaking top-secret NSA documents, a day after he told the media in Moscow that his plan was to seek temporary asylum.
Interfax news agency quotes Russian migration service head Konstantin Romodanovsky as saying no asylum request had been received as yet.
Friday, the former CIA contractor appeared at a news conference alongside representatives from Russian and other international human rights organizations. Snowden said he hoped to go to Latin America after applying for temporary asylum in Russia. He is thought to be considering Bolivia, Nicaragua or Venezuela as possible final destinations.
A double-edged sword for Russia
“Snowden is useful as a propaganda tool for Putin, who accuses the U.S. government of preaching to the world about rights and freedoms it does not uphold at home. But his presence on Russia’s doorstep is a double-edged sword.
“Putin has invited Obama for a bilateral summit in Moscow in September, and asylum for Snowden could jeopardize that, even though both countries have signaled they want to improve ties that have been strained in Putin’s third presidential term.
“And while pro-Kremlin politicians have been avidly casting Snowden, 30, as a rights defender, former KGB officer Putin said last month that the surveillance methods he revealed were largely justified if applied lawfully.
“Putin has said twice that Snowden should choose a final destination and go there, and on July 2 he said Russia could only take Snowden in if he stopped activities “aimed at harming our American partners”. – Reuters.com
UN human rights chief: whistle-blowers need protection
“In her first reference to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s case, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has called on all countries to protect the rights of those who uncover abuses and stressed the need to respect the right for people to seek asylum.
“Commenting on the fugitive former US intelligence contractor, who is presently wanted by the US for leaking classified details of its surveillance programs, Pillay noted that undue surveillance could amount to an infringement of human rights.” – RT.com