Edward Snowden, the man behind the recent NSA spy program leaks, is the most wanted man in the world at the moment. The U.S. government is doing everything it can to bring him back while journalists are still scouring a Moscow airport looking for him. Nobody knows where or how he is, but he's apparently well enough to release a statement via Wikileaks.
Here's the full text:
One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. 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.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. 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. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. 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, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. 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.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. 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.
As the Huffington Post pointed out, Snowden's statement is a little strange. There are a few times where European English is used instead of the American English that would expect from Snowden. Some are even suggesting that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wrote the statement.
Now, we don't know if that's the case or not, but we do know that the statement did go through Wikileaks. An editor could have changed some of the wording to match their writing style. We just don't know, and we won't know until Snowden decides to stop being the hide and seek world champion.
In other Snowden news, Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison is now delivering asylum requests on his behalf to embassies in Moscow. She's attempting to get one of the following countries to grant Snowden's asylum requests - Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.
There have been no responses from any of these countries yet, but they have already pulled their asylum request from Russia after the country's president, Vladimir Putin, said that Snowden could stay in Russia as long as he stops "his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners."
If it isn't obvious already, Snowden and his partners have no intention of stopping just yet. The Washington Post published another round of PRISM leaks over the weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more surveillance leaks in the coming week as well.