NSA leaker wants to stay temporarily in Russia until he can travel to Latin America.
Anna Arutunyan and Doug Stanglin
July 13, 2013
Edward Snowden said Friday that he has no regrets over leaking details about U.S. electronic spying networks and is seeking temporary asylum in Russia until he can reach one of the Latin American countries that has offered to take him in.
“That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets,” he told a group of human rights activists and other public officials at a meeting at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he has taken refuge since June 23.
The 30-year-old former defense contractor, who fled first to Hong Kong and then Russia, said he did what he believes was right to go public with information on the National Security Agency’s surveillance and data-gathering networks in an effort to “correct this wrongdoing.”
“I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets,” he said in a statement released through WikiLeaks. “I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.”
Snowden, whose U.S. passport has been revoked, said he has formally accepted an offer of asylum from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as well as all others which have expressed support “and all others that may be offered in the future.” He said he would ask Russia for permission to remain in the country until he resolve his travel problemss
“I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably,” he said.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Russian news agencies that Russia had not received a new bid for asylum from Snowden and that Putin would continue to insist that Snowden stop leaking information.
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama has a pre-scheduled call Friday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the topic of Snowden would likely come up.
The meeting included Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the Russian state Duma, Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International Russia, Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s presidential human rights ombudsman, attorney Genri Reznik, and Tanya Lokshina, of Human Rights Watch.