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Edward Snowden silent no more: Releases first statements in eight days

Nathan Oelker

Edward Snowden arrives at the Sheremetyevo airport eight days ago

Snowden attacks the Obama administration from his hideout in Moscow

Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, has broken his silence with a letter to the Ecuadorian government where he threatened to release more information. This marks the first time that the world has heard from Snowden since he fled to Moscow from Hong Kong over a week ago.

Snowden, in his letter, accused the Obama administration of deception in an effort to prevent him from locating political asylum and for also “leaving me a stateless person” by revoking his U.S. passport.

Snowden’s letter, which was undated and surfaced through WikiLeaks, was sent to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, one of the countries where Snowden is currently seeking asylum.

Correa said in an interview published on the Guardians website on Monday that giving Snowden a temporary pass to fly to Moscow was “a mistake on our part” and that Snowden was now Russia’s problem.

“Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical,” Correa said.

In his letter, Snowden blasted the U.S. government for trying to illegally prosecute him for revealing Prism, the NSA’s electronic surveillance program, and made it clear that he would not be silenced.

“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,” Snowden wrote.

“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden said in his letter.

“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 realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.”

Snowden’s letter also lashed out at President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for pressuring Ecuador to deny him asylum.

“This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile,” he said.

“Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right,” Snowden said. “A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum … Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

Nanda Chitre, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman, rejected Snowden’s allegation that he was marooned, “since he is still a United States citizen and his country is willing to take him back. As the State Department has already said, the U.S. government is prepared to issue individuals wanted on felony charges a one entry travel document to return home,” she said.

Snowden’s pursuance has had more action and turns so far than the best thriller one could hope to write. Snowden currently faces charges of espionage in the United States, and he’s still believed to be staying in a transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He went to Russia after leaving Hong Kong, which is where he went after first fleeing Hawaii.

Now the question is where he will go next, and there are several clues. WikiLeaks, who has taken up his cause, released another statement saying that Snowden was asking for asylum in several countries, including Russia, China, Brazil, India, Ireland, Iceland and Ecuador.

Despite the high profile of the final request, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador was quoted as saying that his country could not consider granting asylum unless Snowden was on Ecuadorian territory.

WikiLeaks also said on Monday that Snowden has prepared more requests, for countries including Austria, Bolivia, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela. These documents were given to a Russian official at Sheremetyevo and delivered to their respective embassies in Moscow.

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