In June, it was revealed that a number of leaks regarding the NSA’s secret spy programs were published by an NSA contractor named Edward Snowden. It was also revealed that he was in Hong Kong, but he soon left for Russia. Since then, he’s been living in a Moscow airport applying for asylum in various countries.
Snowden’s search for asylum seemingly came to an end earlier this week when Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua all agreed to offer the whistleblower asylum. That was the easy part. The hard part is actually getting to any one of those countries as the U.S. will use its influence to prevent Snowden’s plane from entering the airspace of any of its allies. It already did so once when the United States’ European allies grounded Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in Europe over suspicions that Snowden was on board.
With the U.S. closely monitoring every plan leaving Moscow for South and Central America, Snowden really only has one choice available to him – seeking asylum in Russia. It shouldn’t be that hard actually as Russian president Vladimir Putin offered Snowden asylum on the condition that he stop releasing documents that harm the U.S. He said in a small private news conference that he would refrain from publishing any more leaks to meet this condition.
It should be noted that Snowden is only seeking temporary asylum in Russia. He would much prefer one of the Latin American countries that offered him asylum, but he says that the U.S. is making that impossible at the moment. He called on the Obama administration to recognize International law regarding asylum requests and grant him safe passage to the country of his choice.
That might be difficult as RT reports that the American embassy in Russia said that it does not consider Snowden a “rights activist.” It says that he “broke the law and therefore must be made accountable.” In other words, the U.S. isn’t going to budge until it can coerce Snowden into submitting himself to U.S. authorities.