| Russian lawyer says Snowden to start website job!

Russian lawyer says Snowden to start website job ~

Steve Gutterman, MOSCOW, Reuters.

(Reuters) – Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has found a job working for a website in Russia, where he was granted asylum after fleeing the United States, a Russian lawyer who is helping him said on Thursday.

“Edward starts work in November,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to state-run news agency RIA.

“He will provide support for a large Russian site,” he said, adding that he would not name the site “for security reasons”.

Snowden, 30, a former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed secret U.S. internet telephone surveillance programmes, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia in June.

President Vladimir Putin has rejected U.S. pleas to send Snowden home to face charges including espionage, and the temporary asylum he was granted in early August can be extended annually.

Snowden’s location in Russia has not been disclosed and since July he has appeared only in a handful of photographs and video clips from a meeting this month with visiting former U.S. national security officials who support his cause.

Putin, a former KGB spy, said repeatedly that Russia would only shelter Snowden if he stopped harming the United States.

But state media have treated him as a whistleblower and the decision to grant him asylum seemed to underscore Putin’s accusations that the U.S. government preaches to the world about rights and freedoms it does not uphold at home.

Putin has dismissed the widespread assumption that Russian intelligence officers had grilled Snowden for information after he arrived, and Kucherena has portrayed him as trying to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

He said earlier that he hoped Snowden would find a job because he was living on scant funds, mostly from donations.

A tabloid news site on Thursday published what it said was a photo of Snowden on a Moscow river cruise this summer, and the same site earlier published a photo of a man who looked like Snowden pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket parking lot.

Kucherena was not immediately available for comment, an aide said.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration. The Chinese characters of the title read: ''PRISM program whistleblower Snowden being interviewed in Hong Kong''. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files

A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration. The Chinese characters of the title read: PRISM program whistleblower Snowden being interviewed in Hong Kong”.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee/Files

________________________________________________________________________
Advertisements

| BREAKING: Venezuela’s president Maduro says he has decided to offer asylum to Snowden!

| BREAKING: Venezuela‘s president Maduro says he has decided to offer asylum to Snowden!

“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution,” Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.

NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES ~ RT.

Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history, exposing a top-secret NSA surveillance program to the media. Leading tech companies were revealed to be involved in intelligence gathering through PRISM spy tool.

00:11 GMT Venezuela’s president Maduro says he has decided to offer asylum to US NSA- leaker Edward Snowden, Reuters reports.

“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution,” Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.

Saturday, July 6 

23:34 GMT: Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said on Friday that he had received an asylum request from US NSA-leaker Edward Snowden and could accept the bid “if circumstances permit.”

“We are open, respectful of the right to asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit it, we would receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here in Nicaragua,” Ortega said at a public event.

16:27 GMT: Edward Snowden has applied to another six states for political asylum, WikiLeaks reported. In an effort to avoid US interference, the six nations were not disclosed.

15:12 GMT: UK and Sweden have vetoed the discussion of traditional spying by the US on EU members during upcoming talks in Washington. Originally the EU envisaged two working groups – reports the Guardian – one discussing NSA and PRISM, and the other more traditional methods of espionage, but the two objectors said the EU had no authority to discuss matters of national security, particularly since policies differ widely among various member states. “Intelligence matters and those of national security are not the competence of the EU,” summed up José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president.

11:57 GMT: German Blush lingerie brand has decided to take advantage of the hype surrounding Edward Snowden, issuing a series of ads in which the whistleblower is mentioned. In one of them, the company offers him asylum in Berlin, promising that a “bed and champagne” is waiting for the NSA leaker upon arrival. Another ad features the slogan “Dear Edward Snowden, there’s still a lot to uncover” next to a female model in sexy underwear.

“We highly sympathize with what Snowden did,”
 said Johannes Krempl, director of Glow Advertising agency. “We owe him so much, and that’s why we thought we have to do something to express our feelings towards him and thank him, and that’s why we came up with this ad for Blush in support of his deeds.”


07:48 GMT: The US government has issued an arrest warrant for Edward Snowden to the Irish government. The request has been sent as a pre-emptive strike against Snowden’s potential attempt to fly to Havana, Cuba on a commercial flight which has a stopover in Shannon, Ireland for refueling.

06:35 GMT: The proposal to give Snowden Icelandic citizenship received limited support in Parliament on Thursday, the last day before summer recess, with only six members of minority parties in favor out of parliament’s 63 members.

Friday, July 5

21:17 GMT: A short movie on NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been filmed by a group of independent filmmakers in Hong Kong. Called “Verax,” or the truth teller in Latin, the 5-minute film has already been viewed over 130,000 times on YouTube.

Creators say the $600 budget movie was made in less than a week at the time Snowden was still in Hong-Kong.

The film depicts Snowden’s time spent in a Hong Kong hotel room while hiding from the intelligence services. The film also shows the Snowden-alike protagonist solving a Rubik’s cube – an object he reportedly identifies with.

‘Verax’ was reportedly the alias Snowden used when contacting journalists via encrypted chat services.

17:09 GMT: The Icelandic Parliament reportedly has a bill that would give Snowden Icelandic citizenship.

16:06 GMT: Paris has rejected Edward Snowden’s asylum request, AFP reports quoting ministerial officials.

So far, twelve countries including France have denied the whistleblower refuge. Egiht applications are still pending.

16:01 GMT: France’s external intelligence agency spies on French citizens‘ phone calls, emails, social media activity and web use, reports Le Monde. 

15:19 GMT: Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino says Rome cannot support Snowden’s request for Asylum. She stated that any request would have to be presented in person at the border or on Italian territory, which Snowden had not done.

“As a result there do not exist the legal conditions to accept such a request which in the government’s view would not be acceptable on a political level either,” she said.

Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries.

14:34 GMT: EU Parliament has voted to scrap two agreements granting the US access to European financial and travel data, unless Washington reveals the full extent of its spying on Europe.

 

Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens' privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens’ privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

 

13:20 GMT: EU lawmakers on Thursday demanded ‘immediate clarification’ of US spying on EU offices and warned the scandal could damage trans-Atlantic relations. Lawmakers however rejected a call for the postponement of talks on a EU-US trade deal, which are due to start on Monday.

12:44 GMT: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has rejected an order for the extradition of former CIA employee Edward Snowden live on Venezuelan state channel Telesur.

“I reject any request for extradition, affirmed the president, speaking about Edward Snowden,” read a tweet posted on Telesur’s Twitter account.

11:53 GMT: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has not applied for political asylum in Russia so it is not in Moscow’s power to decide his destiny, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.“As of today, Russia has not received an application from Mr. Snowden for political asylum. We believe that without his determined personal decision in one direction or another, without his exact understanding of what is better for him, what solution he considers to be the optimal one, we are unable to decide for him. That’s all that can be said currently,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists.

10:05 GMT: “Snowden, will you marry me?” Russian ‘femme fatale’ Anna Chapman asks via twitter. The red-haired tabloid darling came to world prominence after the spy scandal with ten Russians sleeper agents arrested in the US in June 2010. They were expelled from American soil after being traded on July 9 for four American spies serving jail terms in Russia, in what was the biggest prisoner swap since the fall of the Iron Curtain. After returning to Russia, Chapman has been enjoying an active media life and hosting a program on “Mysteries of the World” Russian REN TV channel.

9:13 GMT: The Bolivian government has rejected the American extradition request for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as “baseless and illegal.”

“The bizarre, legally baseless and unusual request for the extradition of a person who is not on the territory of the state in question, will be returned to the United States immediately,” said a foreign ministry statement.

The Ministry stressed that Morales had at no point met with President Morales in Russia, nor did he get on the plane, nor is he presently on Bolivian territory”

5:02 GMT: The Bolivian President’s plane has finally landed in La Paz following its detention for over 13 hours in Vienna’s airport. The presidential craft made two stops during its journey in Brazil and the Canary Islands. President Evo Morales was greeted by a throng of supporters at the airport, who brandished banners and voiced their solidarity. The Bolivian leader addressed the crowd, declaring: “they will never intimidate us! They will never scare us!”

 

Four hours for President Evo Morales to arrive in Bolivia and the airport is already packed with people who want to welcome him. (Photo from Instagram/@RT)Four hours for President Evo Morales to arrive in Bolivia and the airport is already packed with people who want to welcome him. (Photo from Instagram/@RT)

 

Thursday, July 4

16:15 GMT: Protesters burn a French flag outside the French embassy in La Paz. Bolivian officials accused France, Portugal, Italy and Spain of denying entry to the President’s jet late Tuesday over “unfounded rumors” Snowden was traveling on board.

 

People burn a French flag in front of France's embassy in La Paz on June 03, 2013 . (AFP Photo)People burn a French flag in front of France’s embassy in La Paz on June 03, 2013 . (AFP Photo)

 

15:08 GMT: Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has asked that the Unasur group of South American nations call an urgent meeting over travel restrictions placed on Bolivian President Evo Morales by France and Portugal, Unasur’s secretary general said in a statement on Wednesday.

12:03 GMT:

 

10:47 GMT: “An act of aggression and violation of international law” is how Bolivia’s UN envoydescribed Austria’s decision to search the Bolivian presidential jet for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The envoy has pledged to make an official complaint to the UN.

Envoy Sacha Llorentty Soliz told press in New York that he had no doubt the decision to search the plane originated from the US.

10:39 GMT: France wants a temporary two week suspension of EU-US free trade talks in the light of the looming scandal over the US National Security Agency’s alleged spying on 38 embassies, including America’s NATO European allies. “It’s not a question of halting the negotiations,” French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem noted, but “On the other hand, it would seem wise to us to suspend them for a couple of weeks to avoid any controversy and have the time to obtain the information we’ve asked for,” he said.

8:51 GMT: The Austrian authorities searched Morales’ plane for Edward Snowden, but found no stowaways on board, Austria’s deputy chancellor has said.

8:42 GMT: Spain has authorized Bolivia’s presidential jet to pass through its airspace and continue its journey to Bolivia, the Austrian President has said. The plane was grounded in Austria Wednesday morning over suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board.

The Austrian President, Heinz Fischer, announced that the Bolivian presidential jet will be on its way to La Paz “shortly” following a meeting with President Evo Morales. President Morales has spent 11 hours in the airport in Vienna waiting to resume his journey.

03:00 GMT: French officials have stated that technical problems prevented one of their airports from accepting president Evo Morales’ flight from landing. The Bolivian leader was en route from Russia following his attendance at a summit of major gas-exporting nations in Moscow.

According to the Associated Press, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca has rejected any claims that the plane carrying the Bolivian head of state was denied entry over France and Portugal for anything other than political reasons.

“They say it was due to technical issues, but after getting explanations from some authorities we found that there appeared to be some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane … We don’t know who invented this lie,” said Choquehuanca.

While attending the energy conference in Russia this week, Morales told RT that he would consider granting asylum to Snowden if the request was made.

“It is possible that they want to intimidate us due to the statement made by President Morales that we would analyze an asylum request from Mr. Snowden,” said Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra.

“We have the suspicion that [France and Portugal] were used by a foreign power, in this case the United States, as a way of intimidating the Bolivian state and President Evo Morales.”

Saavedra confirmed that Italy had also denied Bolivia’s aircraft entry into its airspace. The Bolivian president meanwhile is spending the night at a hotel in Vienna.

01:08 GMT: Austrian ministry officials have confirmed that Snowden was not on Morales’ plane, AFP reported.

President Morales will leave early Wednesday morning for La Paz,” Austrian ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg said. He denied any knowledge of why the plane landed there.

00:41 GMT: Imprisoned former CIA officer John Kiriakou has written a letter supporting Snowden’s decision to leak information about the massive surveillance apparatus employed by the US. Kiriakou was the first CIA officer to publicly acknowledge that torture treated as legal under former president George W. Bush. He was convicted in October 2012 of disclosing the name of an officer who worked in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program to a reporter and sentenced to thirty months behind bars earlier this year.

 

Imprisoned former CIA officer John Kiriakou (Photo from tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com)Imprisoned former CIA officer John Kiriakou (Photo from tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com)

 

Kiriakou, in his second note published by Firedog Lake, advised Snowden to “find the best national security attorneys money can buy,” while recommending the American Civil Liberties Union and Government Accountability Project as two potential leads.

You’re going to need the support of prominent Americans and groups who can explain to the public why what you did is so important,” Kiriakou wrote, while adding that the “most important advice” he can offer is to “not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI.”

 

Image from dissenter.firedoglake.comImage from dissenter.firedoglake.com

 

00:07 GMT: The Bolivian Chamber of Deputies, the country’s national legislature, expressed solidarity with President Evo Morales after his plane from Moscow was diverted away from French and Portuguese airspace because of a rumor that Edward Snowden was onboard.

This is a lie, a falsehood. It was generated by the US government,” Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told. “It t is an outrage. It is an abuse. It is a violation of the conventions and agreements of international air transportation.”

Ecuador also suggested an emergency meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) after the incident Tuesday.

 

The Bolivian presidential airplane is parked at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat July 3, 2013. (Reuters)The Bolivian presidential airplane is parked at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat July 3, 2013. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, July 3

22:24 GMT: A Bolivian Minister has announced that Morales’ plane was forced to re-route on the suspicion that Snowden was on board, according to the Associated Press.

22:21 GMT: After departing from Russia the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to make an emergency landing in Austria. Bolivian authorities denied rumors that Edward Snowden was on board, though the fugitive whistleblower did send a political asylum request to Bolivia that has yet to be answered; he also petitioned Austria but was rejected.

Reports indicated the plane made previous attempts to land in France and Portugal but was denied because of the possibility that Snowden was on board.

17:53 GMT: Snowden’s father has written an open letter to him extolling him for “summoning the American people to confront the growing danger of tyranny.” Snowden’s father has expressed concern that WikiLeaks supporters who have been helping his son seek asylum may not have his best interests at heart. The father has said he’d like his son to return to the U.S. under the right circumstances.

14:43 GMT: In his asylum request to Poland, Snowden said that he risks facing the death penalty if he returns to the US.

14:10 GMT: Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, says Venezuela is ready to consider an asylum request from Snowden.

“In any case, this young man must be protected in terms of international and humanitarian law. He has a right to be protected, because he is being pursued be the US. By its president, vice president, by the secretary of State. Why is he being pursued?What kind of crime has he committed? Has he launched a missile and killed anyone? Has he planted a bomb and killed anyone? No, he hasn’t. On the contrary, he is doing everything to prevent wars, to prevent any kind of illegal action against the whole world. Venezuela hasn’t so far received an asylum request from Snowden – when we get it we are ready to consider it,” Maduro told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday.

 

President Nicolas Maduro seen attending the Kremlin's joint press conference, July 2, 2013 (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)President Nicolas Maduro seen attending the Kremlin’s joint press conference, July 2, 2013 (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)

 

14:07 GMT: According to Wikileaks, Snowden has received asylum rejections from Poland, Finland, India, and Brazil. Applications made to Austria, Ecuador, Norway, and Spain are only valid if made on the countries’ home soils. Venezuela says it is willing to consider an asylum request from Snowden.

Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, and Switzerland have not yet responded to Snowden’s requests for asylum.

Snowden gave up on his initial request to stay in Russia, after President Putin said his asylum bid was contingent on his cessation of “anti-American activity,” according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

13:35 GMT: Italy’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Snowden’s asylum application was not filed correctly because Snowden would have to be on Italian soil for it to be valid. Furthermore, his application was received by fax, which is not allowed under Italian law.

12:40 GMT: Brazil has refused the asylum request from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, a spokesperson for the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said in a statement.

12:25 GMT: Poland, America’s most faithful ally in Eastern Europe, has announced it is going to demand explanations from Washington over NSA surveillance of Polish diplomats in EU facilities and the country’s embassy in the US. “We will demand an explanation for NSA (US National Security Agency) actions towards Poland and the EU,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote in a Twitter post.

10:36 GMT: India has rejected Snowden’s application for political asylum, stating they have “no reason” to accede to the request.

“Indian Embassy in Moscow did receive a request for asylum in a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden,” Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, said on Twitter.

10:00 GMT: Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo knows nothing of an asylum request from Edward Snowden, but has reiterated statements made by other states that an asylum application is only valid when made on Spanish soil.

For an asylum petition to become a petition that the government could study, in other words for it to be legally admissible, it has to be made by a person who is in Spain,” Reuters cites Garcia-Margallo as saying.

09:00 GMT: Finnish asylum cannot be requested from abroad, according to Keijo Norvanto, Head of the Unit for Communications at Finland’s Foreign Ministry.

We can confirm that we received the request. But we cannot consider it official. To officially seek political asylum, Snowden must first come to Finland and go to the police or migration service. But in this case the request procedure was violated, so the appeal is not going to be considered,” ITAR-TASS news agency cites Norvanto as saying.

08:30 GMT: Snowden’s request for asylum was handed over to the Austrian embassy in Moscow on Monday, but it can only be submitted in Austria directly, APA news agency cites the country’s Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, as saying. When asked by journalists if Snowden could be extradited once in Austria, the Minister answered that no international arrest warrant had been issued for the whistleblower.

08:00 GMT: Edward Snowden gave up on his initial request to stay in Russia, after President Putin said his asylum bid was contingent on his cessation of “anti-American activity”, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.  The whistleblower continues to remain in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport and has never crossed the Russian border, Peskov continued. He reiterated that Russian intelligence had never worked with the whistleblower, nor had Snowden ever been a Russian intelligence agent. Peskov stressed Russia will never hand over anyone to a country where capital punishment is enforced.

 

Russia's President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a meeting with the Venezuelan delegation, led by President Nicolas Maduro, at the Kremlin in Moscow, July 2, 2013. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a meeting with the Venezuelan delegation, led by President Nicolas Maduro, at the Kremlin in Moscow, July 2, 2013. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

 

00:00 GMT:  In a statement released through WikiLeaks, Snowden thanked his supporters and decried the Obama administration’s method of trying to intimidate countries that would consider granting him political asylum.

For decades the United States of America [has] been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum,” Snowden wrote. “Sadly, this right laid out and voted for by the US in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon.

Although I am convicted of nothing,” the statement continues, “it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me in a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me [from] exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”

 

Tuesday, July 2

18:30 GMT: Speaking to RT Spanish, Bolivian president Evo Morales has said that Edward Snowden has not requested political asylum from his country.

“If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” said Morales.

The president further explained that Bolivia was prepared to “assist” the whistleblower.

 

Bolivian president Evo Morales visiting RT Spanish TV channel (RT photo / Semyon Khorunzhy)Bolivian president Evo Morales visiting RT Spanish TV channel (RT photo / Semyon Khorunzhy)

 

“Why not? Well, he’s left much to be discussed … and a debate on the international level, and of course, Bolivia is there to shield the denounced, whether it’s espionage or control, in either case, we are here to assist.”

16:00 GMT: US President Barack Obama said Washington and Moscow had held high level discussions regarding the issue of fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, adding that he hoped Russia would help resolve the issue on the basis of international standards.

 

US President Barack Obama, July 1, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)US President Barack Obama, July 1, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

 

Obama, noting that the US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, said that Snowden had arrived in the country without a valid passport, and hoped Moscow would thus make a decision which was on par with the regular protocols of international travel and cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

Obama would not confirm reports that law enforcement agencies in both countries had been ordered to find a solution regarding Snowden.

15:32 GMT: Edward Snowden has not applied for asylum in Russia, according to the Russian Immigration Service.

The statement comes after a New York Times report which cited “a Russian immigration source close to the matter” as saying that Snowden has, in fact, sought asylum.

 

15:30 GMT: Russian President Vladimir Putin said  that Russia would not hand over former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the United States, but added that if Snowden wanted to say in the country he “must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners”.

“Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia,” Putin stated.

“At best,” he noted, Russia exchanged its foreign intelligence employees detained abroad for“those who were detained, arrested and sentenced by a court in the Russian Federation.”

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, July 1, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klementiev)Russian President Vladimir Putin, July 1, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klementiev)

 

Snowden “is not a Russian agent”, the president continued, stressing that Russian intelligence services were not working with the American whistleblower.

Putin added that Snowden should choose his final destination and go there.

13:56 GMT: Presidents Putin and Obama have instructed their nations’ securities services – Russia’s FSB and American FBI respectively – to solve the situation around the Snowden case, said the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev.

12:53 GMT: France and Germany have demanded the US account for leaked reports of massive-scale US spying on the EU. French President Francois Hollande called for an end to surveillance while Germany said such “Cold War-style behavior” was “unacceptable.”

The German government summoned the US ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy, to Berlin on Monday to explain the incendiary reports.  Chancellor Merkel’s spokesperson said the government wants “trust restored.”

While French President Francois Hollande said the spying should “stop immediately.”

 

Francois Hollande (AFP Photo / Patrick Kovarik)Francois Hollande (AFP Photo / Patrick Kovarik)

 

09:13 GMT: Juergen Trittin, German parliamentary leader and candidate for chancellor of the Greens – the country’s third largest party – told German television that whistleblower Edward Snowden should be granted safe haven in Europe and not seek asylum in “despotic” countries.

“It’s painful for democrats that someone who has served democracy and, in our view, uncovered a massive violation of basic rights, should have to seek refuge with despots who have problems with basic rights themselves,” Trittin said.

“Someone like that should be protected,” he continued. “That counts for Mr. Snowden. He should get safe haven here in Europe because he has done us a service by revealing a massive attack on European citizens and companies. Germany, as part of Europe, could do that.”

The deputy did not specify which “despots” he had in mind.

Tritten’s comments come amidst reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) monitors half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany during an average month, far outpacing US surveillance of any other European state.

 ______________________________________________________________
SPY 1

Paranoia1

| Edward Snowden: Obama guilty of deceit over extradition!

Edward Snowden: Obama guilty of deceit over extradition ~

Edward Snowden

In the statement released by WikiLeaks, Snowden claimed the US president had employed the ‘old, bad tools of political aggression’. Photograph: Reuters/The Guardian

Edward Snowden has accused Barack Obama of deception for promising in public to avoid diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over his extradition, while privately pressuring countries to refuse his requests for asylum.

Snowden, the surveillance whistleblower who is thought to be trapped in the legal limbo of a transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, used his first public comments since fleeing Hong Kong to attack the US for revoking his passport. He also accused his country of bullying nations that might grant him asylum.

“On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case,” Snowden said in a statement released by WikiLeaks.

“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.”

Snowden’s increasingly desperate predicament became further apparent on Monday night with the leak of a letter he had written to Ecuador praising its “bravery” and expressing “deep respect and sincere thanks” for considering his request for political asylum.

But the change in mood in Quito, already apparent at the end of last week, was underlined by an interview Rafael Correa, the president, gave to the Guardian on Monday in which he insisted Ecuador will not now help Snowden leave Moscow and never intended to facilitate his attempted flight to South America.

Correa blamed earlier signs of encouragement on a misunderstanding by its London embassy.

“That we are responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia,” Correa said at the presidential palace in Quito. Correa said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part.”

In his statement through WikiLeaks, which has been assisting him since he left Hong Kong on 10 June, Snowden contrasted the current US approach to his extradition with its previous support of political dissidents in other countries.

“For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum,” he said. “Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the US in article 14 of the universal declaration of human rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country.”

Snowden also accused the Obama administration of “using citizenship as a weapon”, which has apparently left him unable to leave the airport in Moscow.

“Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person,” he said. “Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”

Moscow confirmed earlier on Monday that Snowden had applied for political asylum in Russia. The LA Times said Snowden had made similar applications to a total of 15 countries.

The former NSA contractor struck a defiant tone on Monday night. “In the end, the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake,” he said. “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. I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.”

His statement also came shortly after one of Obama’s top intelligence officials, US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was forced to apologise to Congress</a> for “erroneous” claims that the US did not collect data on its own citizens.

Snowden paid tribute to those who had helped him force such disclosures.

“One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth,” he said.

“My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.”

_________________________________________________________________________

snowden 1

SPY 1

| Rafael Correa: we helped Snowden by mistake!

Rafael Correa: we helped Snowden by mistake ~

  •  in Quitoguardian.co.uk.

    Ecuador’s president reveals travel pass was granted ‘without authorisation’ and says whistleblower is now Russia’s problem.

    Rafael Correa Ecuador president Edward Snowden

    Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said Snowden ‘must be on Ecuadorean territory’ to make an asylum request. Photograph: Martin Mejia/AP

    Ecuador is not considering Edward Snowden‘s asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, president Rafael Correa said as the whistleblower made a personal plea to Quito for his case to be heard.

    Snowden was Russia’s responsibility and would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request, the president said in an interview on Monday.

    “Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”

    The president, speaking to the Guardian at the presidential palace in Quito, said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part,” he added.

    Asked if he thought the former NSA contractor would ever make it to Quito, he replied: “Mr Snowden’s situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian authorities.”

    Asked if he would like to meet him, he said: “Not particularly. He’s a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr Snowden spied for some time.”

    The comments clashed with expressions of gratitude the 30-year-old fugitive issued hours later, before Correa’s views had been published.

    “I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum,” said a letter, in Spanish and attributed to Snowden.

    “There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.”

    Snowden contrasted the silence of governments afraid of US retaliation with Ecuador’s help in his flight to Moscow on 22 June. A temporary Ecuadorean travel document substituted for his cancelled US passport.

    “The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.”

    The letter will boost Ecuador’s reputation with Snowden’s supporters but sat awkwardly with the president’s attempt to distance Quito from the saga. Correa said Quito respected the right of asylum and appreciated Snowden exposing the extent of US spying, but would not consider an asylum request unless he made it to an Ecuadorean embassy or the country itself – a remote possibility while he remains reportedly marooned in Sheremetyevo airport‘s transit lounge. “He must be on Ecuadorean territory,” the president said.

    Correa said his government had not, and would not, give Snowden an authorised travel document to extract himself from the airport. “The right of asylum request is one thing but helping someone travel from one country to another — Ecuador has never done this. ”

    He said the temporary travel document issued by his London consul on 22 June – and publicly disowned five days later — was a blunder.

    “It was a mistake on our part. Look, this crisis hit us in a very vulnerable moment. Our foreign minister was touring Asia. Our deputy foreign minister was in the Czech Republic. Our US ambassador was in Italy.”

    Narvaez and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has sheltered at Ecuador’s London embassy for the past year to escape extradition, took matters into their own hands because they feared Snowden risked capture, Correa said.

    “The consul, in his desperation, probably he couldn’t reach the foreign minister … and he issued a safe conduct document without validity, without authorisation, without us even knowing.”

    Correa said the consul was a “cultured” man and cited the example of Ecuadorean diplomats in Czechoslovakia giving Jews visas in defiance of their foreign ministry during the second world war.

    “Look, he [Assange] is in the embassy, he’s a friend of the consul, and he calls him at four in the morning to say they are going to capture Snowden. The [consul] is desperate – ‘how are we going to save the life of this man?’ – and does it.

    “So I told him: OK, if you think you did the right thing, I respect your decision, but you could not give, without authorisation, that safe conduct pass. It was completely invalid, and he will have to accept the consequences.”

    Narvaez would be “sanctioned”, the president said, without elaborating.

    Some Ecuadorean diplomats have complained that Assange appeared to usurp Quito but the president said there was no rupture. “Mr Assange continues to enjoy our total respect and is under the protection of the Ecuadorean state.”

    Correa, a standard bearer for the left in Latin America, has joined European and other Latin Americans leaders in denouncing US espionage.

    However he softened his tone over the weekend and praised vice-president Joe Biden for a gracious phone call, saying he would consider Washington’s request to refuse any asylum claim from Snowden while retaining Ecuador’s sovereignty.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Paranoia1

    Related articles

| Edward Snowden’s letter to the president of Ecuador – full text!

Edward Snowden’s letter to the president of Ecuador – full text ~

  • Press Assocation, guardian.co.uk.

    The NSA whistleblower, who is currently in Moscow, has written to Rafael Correa regarding his request for political asylum.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Text of a letter by Edward Snowden to the President of EcuadorRafael Correa. Written in Spanish; obtained and translated by the Press Association, London.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    “There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.

    I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum.

    The government of the United States of America has built the world’s largest system of surveillance. This global system affects every human life touched by technology; recording, analysing, and passing secret judgment over each member of the international public.

    It is a grave violation of our universal human rights when a political system perpetuates automatic, pervasive and unwarranted spying against innocent people.

    In accordance with this belief, I revealed this programme to my country and the world. While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.

    As I face this persecution, there has been silence from governments afraid of the United States government and their threats. Ecuador however, rose to stand and defend the human right to seek asylum.

    The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, 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. If any of those days ahead realise a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.

    Please accept my gratitude on behalf of your government and the people of the Republic of Ecuador, as well as my great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding.”

    Edward Joseph Snowden.
    _______________________________________________________________

    black keyboard1

Assault Weapon 1

| US sources claim China and Russia got access to Snowden’s computers!

US sources claim China and Russia got access to Snowden’s computers ~ RT.

United States officials believe that classified intelligence taken out of the country by NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been compromised by agencies in Russia and China.

Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, fled the US for Hong Kong last month and then supplied journalists with classified information pertaining to vast surveillance operations conducted by the American government’s National Security Agency.

Both Russian and US officials have made claims that Snowden is now in Moscow, likely arranging for possible asylum in another country. In the meantime, though, US sources speaking with the Washington Free Beacon say that China and Russia have gained access to “highly classified US intelligence and military information contained on electronic media” held by Snowden.

The exact compromise of the secret data held on Snowden’s laptop computers remains unknown but is the subject of an ongoing damage assessment within NSA and other intelligence agencies,” Bill Gertz of the Free Beacon wrote on Wednesday.

According to Gertz, those officials fear that Snowden may have accessed recently created nuclear war plans that could pose as future embarrassment for the US in the wake of disclosures already attributed to Snowden.

Previously, Snowden supplied The Guardian newspaper with documentation showing how the NSA routinely collects the phone records pertaining to millions of Americans every day. On Thursday this week, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman published their latest installment in the NSA leaks, exposing further surveillance under the administration of President Barack Obama that put Internet records directly into the hands of government officials.

Snowden has said that he’s personally reviewed the trove of documents supplied to The Guardian and other outlets, carefully evaluated every single one “to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” Glenn Greenwald said that Snowden brought “thousands” of files with him to Hong Kong, “dozens” of which he believes are newsworthy.

What exactly Snowden knows remains a mystery, however, and he reportedly has four laptops in his possession right now that contain classified intelligence.

Earlier this month, the Washington Post cited an anonymous former intelligence official who claimed that Russian authorities were almost certain to seize any computer files Snowden brought into the country.

In a separate article earlier this month, the Post quoted another former senior US intelligence official who predicted that any intelligence compromised by Russia would have seen a similar fate en route from Hong Kong.

I guarantee the Chinese intelligence service got their hands on that right away. If they imaged the hard drives and then returned them to him, well, then the Russians have that stuff now,” the source said.

The Chinese already have everything Snowden had,” a separate source added to the Beacon’s Gertz this week.

___________________________________________________________________

black keyboard1

| Exceptional Hypocrisy: The Good Germans in Government!

“Treason is a word that dictators love to hurl at dissidents, and when both Cheney and Feinstein bring it back into favor, you know that courageous whistle-blowers like Snowden are not the enemy.”

What a disgrace. The U.S. government, cheered on by much of the media, launches an international manhunt to capture a young American whose crime is that he dared challenge the excess of state power. Read the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and tell me that Edward Snowden is not a hero in the mold of those who founded this republic. Check out the Nuremberg war crime trials and ponder our current contempt for the importance of individual conscience as a civic obligation.

Yes, Snowden has admitted that he violated the terms of his employment at Booz Allen Hamilton, which has the power to grant security clearances as well as profiting mightily from spying on the American taxpayers who pay to be spied on without ever being told that is where their tax dollars are going. Snowden violated the law in the same way that Daniel Ellsberg did when, as a RAND Corporation employee, he leaked the damning Pentagon Papers study of the Vietnam War that the taxpayers had paid for but were not allowed to read. 

In both instances, violating a government order was mandated by the principle that the United States trumpeted before the world in the Nuremberg war crime trials of German officers and officials. As Principle IV of what came to be known as the Nuremberg Code states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

That is a heavy obligation, and the question we should be asking is not why do folks like Ellsberg, Snowden and Bradley Manning do the right thing, but rather why aren’t we bringing charges against the many others with access to such damning data of government malfeasance who remain silent?

Is there an international manhunt being organized to bring to justice Dick Cheney, the then-vice president who seized upon the pain and fear of 9/11 to make lying to the public the bedrock of American foreign policy? This traitor to the central integrity of a representative democracy dares condemn Snowden as a “traitor” and suggest that he is a spy for China because he took temporary refuge in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government, which incidentally does much to finance our massive military budget, was embarrassed by the example of Snowden and was quick to send him on his way. Not so ordinary folk in Hong Kong, who clearly demonstrated their support of the man as an exponent of individual conscience. 

So too did Albert Ho, who volunteered his considerable legal skills in support of Snowden, risking the ire of Hong Kong officials. Ho, whom The New York Times describes as “a longtime campaigner for full democracy [in Hong Kong], to the irritation of government leaders of the territory,” is an example of the true democrats around the world who support Snowden, contradicting Cheney’s smear.

But U.S. Democrats have also been quick to join the shoot-the-messenger craze, ignoring the immense significance of Snowden’s revelations. Take Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Fool me once and shame on her, fool me dozens of times, as Feinstein has, and I feel like a blithering idiot having voted for her. After years of covering up for the intelligence bureaucracy, Feinstein is now chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and clearly for some time has been in a position to know the inconvenient truths that Snowden and others before him have revealed.

Did she know that the NSA had granted Booz Allen Hamilton such extensive access to our telephone and Internet records? Did she grasp that the revolving door between Booz Allen and the NSA meant that this was a double-dealing process involving high officials swapping out between the government and the war profiteers? Did she know that the security system administered by Booz Allen was so lax that young Snowden was given vast access to what she now feels was very sensitive data? Or that private companies like Booz Allen were able to hand out “top security” clearances to their employees, and that there now are 1.4 million Americans with that status?

As with her past cover-ups of government lying going back to the phony weapons of mass destruction claims made to justify the Iraq War, Feinstein, like so many in the government, specializes in plausible deniability. She smugly assumes the stance of the all-knowing expert on claimed intelligence success while pretending to be shocked at the egregious failures. She claims not to have known of the extent of the invasion of our privacy and at the same time says she is assured that the information gained “has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks. …” If so, why did she not come clean with the American public and say this is what we are doing to you and why?

Instead, Feinstein failed horribly in the central obligation of a public servant to inform the public and now serves as prosecutor, judge and jury in convicting Snowden hours after his name was in the news: “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s treason,” she said.

Treason is a word that dictators love to hurl at dissidents, and when both Cheney and Feinstein bring it back into favor, you know that courageous whistle-blowers like Snowden are not the enemy.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”

Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.

________________________________________________________________________

MAN FREE

SshhIsrael

| Officials: How Edward Snowden could hurt the US!

Officials: How Edward Snowden Could Hurt the U.S. ~ ABC News, PIERRE THOMAS, MIKE LEVINE, JACK DATE, LUIS MARTINEZ and JACK CLOHERTY Report:

As the U.S. intelligence community struggles to complete a damage assessment over the secret information allegedly stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, sources told ABC News there is a growing consensus within the top circles of the U.S. government that the 30-year-old contractor could deal a potentially devastating blow to U.S. national security.

RELATED: In Their Own Words: Edward Snowden a Hero or Traitor?

Several officials warned the amount of compromised material may be much broader than even Snowden has suggested and that officials are not sure they know everything he may have pilfered. Another official said even the damage assessment won’t be finished for some time.

Among the chief concerns, according to those officials:

Technical Roadmap of the U.S. Surveillance Network

Before he fled Hawaii for Hong Kong in late May, Snowden allegedly downloaded significant amounts of information about some of the country’s most sensitive secrets — specifically how the U.S. government does surveillance abroad. One source told ABC News that as an information specialist with security clearance “he understood the framework of how the whole U.S. surveillance network works.”

In short, Snowden’s stolen material would help America’s adversaries understand how we use electronics to spy.

Another official said Snowden had access to a particularly important computer server in the government’s system “which contained ridiculous amounts of information” totaling hundreds of pages worth of secrets. He is suspected of storing stolen material on computers and making copies of documents. At risk is the effectiveness of billions of dollars worth of supercomputer and clandestine spying resources.

What Snowden May Know About Human Ops

Beyond technical systems, U.S. officials are deeply concerned that Snowden used his sensitive position to read about U.S. human assets, for example spies and informants overseas as well as safe houses and key spying centers.

They worry this recent quote from Snowden was not an exaggeration: ” I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all over the world. The locations of every station, we have what their missions are, and so forth.”

So it’s not just about what he took, but what he knows, officials emphasize. Officials describe Snowden as a walking treasure trove, a dream for foreign  intelligence services. One intelligence official called Snowden and his cache an “entire U.S. government problem.”

Known Damage Already

A senior intelligence official said: “The intelligence community is already seeing indications that several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communication behaviors based on what they’re reading about our surveillance programs in the media.”

In an interview with CNN today, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “people may die as a consequence of what this man [Snowden] did.”

“It is possible that the United States will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in some way or another, that they didn’t know before,” he said.

How Urgently Does the U.S. Want Snowden Back?

Attorney General Eric Holder called his counterpart in Hong Kong last week to lobby for Snowden to be arrested and extradited. Hong Kong failed to apprehend Snowden, however, claiming today they had no legal basis to do so. Now the U.S. government is sternly calling on Russia to “examine all options available to them” to expel Snowden to the U.S.

How the System Failed, and How to Fix It

On “This Week With George Stephanopolous” Sunday, NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said the system to keep classified information from leaking out “did not work as it should have” and said he didn’t understand why it failed.

Today James Clapper, the Director of National Security, is seeking “more specificity” about IT professionals like Snowden used by the government as contractors to the intelligence community. The DNI annually makes an inventory of contractors in the spy community, but “in view of recent unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” Clapper is focusing on IT personnel, according to a DNI spokesperson.

_____________________________________________________________________

NSA PRISM1

Paranoia1

| Spy-leaker Edward Snowden asks Ecuador for asylum!

Spy-leaker Edward Snowden asks Ecuador for asylum ~ BBC.

Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor who leaked classified documents revealing US internet and phone surveillance, has asked Ecuador for asylum.

The request was confirmed by Ecuador’s foreign minister on Twitter.

Mr Snowden had fled the US for Hong Kong but flew out on Sunday morning and is currently in Moscow.

A US extradition request to Hong Kong failed but Washington insists he should now be denied international travel.

The US justice department has called Hong Kong’s decision not to arrest Mr Snowden “troubling”.

On Sunday, a US official said Washington had contacted “Western Hemisphere” nations that Mr Snowden might travel to, or through.

“The US is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” the state department official said.

Earlier, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who is in Vietnam, said on Twitter: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”

 

Senator Feinstein on CBS News: “I thought China would see this as an opportunity to improve US ties”

Wikileaks said in a statement that Mr Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from Wikileaks”.

Ecuador is already giving political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltering in its London embassy for the past year.

The anti-secrecy group said Mr Snowden’s asylum request would be formally processed when he arrived in Ecuador.

Spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told the BBC he believed history would show that the former analyst had performed “a great public service”.

Extradition ‘incomplete’The US state department said Mr Snowden’s passport had been revoked, saying this was “routine and consistent with US regulations”.

However, one US official told the Associated Press that if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the lack of a passport.

Hong Kong officials said Mr Snowden had left “on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel” because the US extradition request was incomplete and there was no legal basis to restrict him from departing.

Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told the BBC he believed the fugitive would eventually be recognised as a hero.

The US justice department said it was “disappointed” that Hong Kong did not arrest Mr Snowden and that it “disagrees” with its reasons for not doing so.

An official said that at no point during talks on Friday did Hong Kong raise issues regarding the sufficiency of the US request.

“In light of this, we find their decision to be particularly troubling,” the official said.

Mr Snowden left on Aeroflot flight SU213 and landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport shortly after 17:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Sunday, where he was reportedly picked up by either a Venezuelan or Ecuadorean embassy car.

Reports suggest he will fly out of Russia on an early afternoon flight to the Cuban capital Havana, where he is booked on another flight to Caracas, Venezuela.

Following that route would enable him to fly on to Ecuador without risk of arrest by US authorities.

It is unclear where Mr Snowden currently is, but he is reported to have not left the airport, and the Ecuadorean ambassador was spotted at an airside hotel.


Who is Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden
  • Age 30, grew up in North Carolina
  • Joined army reserves in 2004, discharged four months later, says the Guardian
  • First job at National Security Agency was as security guard
  • Worked on IT security at the CIA
  • Left CIA in 2009 for contract work at NSA for various firms including Booz Allen
  • Called himself Verax, Latin for “speaking the truth”, in exchanges with the Washington Post

The US and Ecuador have a joint extradition treaty, but it is not applicable to “crimes or offences of a political character”.

The US justice department has said it will seek co-operation from whichever country Mr Snowden arrives in.

But if Mr Snowden ends up in Ecuador, it is going to be extremely difficult for the Americans to get him, the BBC’s Paul Adams in Washington reports.

Mr Snowden had left his home in Hawaii after leaking details of his work as an NSA (National Security Agency) analyst and the extensive US surveillance programme to the UK’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post.

He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The complaint is dated 14 June – although it was made public only on Friday.

NSA chief Keith Alexander told ABC News on Sunday there had been no warning that Mr Snowden had taken the documents.

“Clearly, the system did not work as it should have,” he said.

Gen Alexander on ABC News: “He betrayed that confidence and stole some of our secrets”

Gen Alexander also said the spying agency was overhauling its operations to tighten security on contractors.

The leaks have led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under an NSA programme known as Prism.

Mr Snowden said earlier that he had decided to speak out after observing “a continuing litany of lies” from senior officials to Congress.

US officials have defended the practice of gathering telephone and internet data from private users around the world.

They say Prism cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the US, and that it is supervised by judges.

More on This Story

| Edward Snowden: Shooting the messenger?

Edward Snowden: Shooting the messenger? ~ Listening Post, Al Jazeera.

Mainstream media in the US seems to be more interested in the character of the leaker than in the content of the leak.

Before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s extensive surveillance programmes on American citizens, he travelled to Hong Kong to escape the reach of the United States’ justice system.

Perhaps he was mindful of the fate of Bradley Manning, who faces life in prison for releasing thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. But while Snowden may have outrun the long arm of the law, he could not avoid trial by media.

Snowden has been described as a “weasel”, a “narcissist” and a “punk” – not by US politicians or officials but by the journalists and newscasters leading the debate over his actions. And the discussion in the mainstream media seems more focused on Snowden’s pole-dancing girlfriend and high school record than on one of the most comprehensive telephone and online surveillance programmes in human history.

It raises the question: Why focus on the character of the leaker and not the content of the leak? Is the media once again, shooting the messenger?

This week’s News Divide takes US journalism to task over its treatment of Edward Snowden and those who dare to leak government secrets to the press. We interviewed former whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed classified information on NSA surveillance in 2010; Jesselyn Radack, from the Government Accountability Project; and reporters Hamilton Nolan of Gawker; and Dana Priest from the Washington Post.

On our Newsbytes this week: A daily newspaper in Turkey has joined Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in his war of words against foreign media outlets; the continuing standoff at the Ecuadorean embassy in London over the legal status of Julian Assange; and the Greek government’s plan to shut down the country’s state-owned broadcaster that has been thwarted by a court ruling.

For our feature we return to a problem faced by journalists every day: the dos and don’ts of terminology; the kind of language to use or avoid when dealing with controversial topics. This year, the world’s largest news agency, the Associated Press, has made significant changes to its stylebook – changes that influence the way the media talks about troublesome topics. The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro takes a look at terminology in the news and the power behind words.

Lastly, if our report on Edward Snowden has left you feeling a little exposed, don’t worry – watch our web video of the week and let “Snuggly” soothe you back to security. It is Mark Fiore’s cuddly take on NSA surveillance. Privacy? Who needs it? In the end, is it not better to be snuggly and secure?

______________________________________________________________________

messengerA