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Edward Snowden Asks Ecuador For Asylum

Edward Snowden

Mere hours after he landed in Moscow after a long flight from Hong Kong, it was revealed that Edward Snowden had asked the nation of Ecuador for asylum:

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 it insists Mr Snowden should now be denied international travel.

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.”

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 advisors from Wikileaks”.

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

Ecuador, you may recall, has already granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently residing in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in order to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning and potential charges related to a sexual assault case. No doubt, Assange and Wikileaks have played some role in Snowden approaching Ecuador. Additionally, it likely helps that the current leadership of Ecuador is not exactly inclined toward the United States and unlikely to heed any extradition request that the United States may make if he ends up in that country. There’s at least some speculation that Snowden will be leaving Moscow some time tomorrow, with Havana as a possible temporary stop before his ultimate destination which, presumably, would be Quito, Ecuador.

In other news, it was revealed today that the United States revoked Snowden’s passport late last week after the criminal charges against him were revealed. Obviously, though, this was not a real bar on his ability to leave Hong Kong and arrive in Moscow. One presumes it would not be a difficulty for future travel to nations willing to accept him either.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Human Rights Watch on Ecuador:

    President Rafael Correa has undercut freedom of the press in Ecuador by subjecting journalists and media figures to public denunciation and retaliatory litigation. Judicial independence continues to suffer due to transitional mechanisms for judicial reform that have given the government and its supporters in Congress a powerful say in appointing and dismissing judges.

    Not exactly North Korea, but not exactly Holland, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Freedom House lists Ecuador as “partly free,” Ecuador’s press as “not free,” and says this:

    In less than five years since taking office, President Rafael Correa has turned Ecuador into one of the more restrictive countries for freedom of expression in Latin America and taken steps to assault freedom of association.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Why doesn’t Snowden come back to the United States and have the ACLU or some other prominent civil liberties group take up his defense?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Mikey says:

    @al-Ameda: That would require nobility and strength of character, two things narcissists like Snowden lack. So he’s receiving assistance from mega-narcissist rapist Julian Assange.

    As I said on another thread…a man is known by the company he keeps.

    Had Snowden stayed in the U. S., rather than running to Hong Kong and Russia (don’t think the Russians are letting him leave until after they’ve gone over whatever he’s carrying with a fine-toothed comb), he’d still be a criminal, but he would be worthy of some measure of respect. A man who’s willing to expose wrongdoing when there are true consequences, has courage, even if there’s disagreement with his action.

    But Snowden’s objective wasn’t the noble exposure of wrongdoing, it was to inflict as much damage as possible on America. So he ran.

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  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    Is there any compelling argument that would keep the Obama administration from simply killing Snowden?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The Constitution applies to Americans wherever in the world they are (hence the blatant unconstitutionality of the due-process-free executions of Anwar al-Awlaki and his son). Snowden’s a coward and a fool, but he still has a Constitutional right to a fair trial. Obama can’t just order him killed.

    That probably means Snowden will never stand trial, unless–and this is highly unlikely–the Russians turn him over. Unfortunate, yes, but preferable to a regime under which a President could unilaterally order his assassination.

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  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Mikey:

    That would require nobility and strength of character, two things narcissists like Snowden lack. So he’s receiving assistance from mega-narcissist rapist Julian Assange.

    Exactly right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Is there any compelling argument that would keep the Obama administration from simply killing Snowden?

    Yes. The United States is not Israel, and that would be brutal for US reputation in Latin America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    don’t think the Russians are letting him leave until after they’ve gone over whatever he’s carrying with a fine-toothed comb

    Which, I would add, the Chinese have undoubtedly already done …

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  10. Jeremy R says:

    From Snowden’s South China Morning Post interviews:

    Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance

    Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone – to obtain evidence of Washington’s cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.

    For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.

    “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

    He spent the time collecting a cache of classified documents as a computer systems administrator at Booz Allen Hamilton.

    Asked if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: “Correct on Booz.”

    The documents he divulged to the Post were obtained at Booz Allen Hamilton in April, he said. He intends to leak more of those documents later.

    “If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.”

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