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Published On: Fri, Jul 12th, 2013

Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Russia, maintains he has ‘no regrets’

Edward Snowden announced Friday that he is submitting a request for political asylum in Russia, where he has been stranded at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23.

The former NSA contractor said in a meeting with human rights activists and lawyers, he still hopes to gain asylum in Latin America.

“I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future,” Snowden said, reading from a written statement. He cited, for example, Venezuela’s grant of asylum, but he said that “some governments” in Western Europe and North America were interfering “with my right to enjoy that asylum,” making it impossible for him to travel to Latin America.

Edward Snowden may have his fans, calling him a "Hero" but the US State Department is still trying to get the NSA leaker back to the US photo CodyGat via Wikimedia commons

Edward Snowden may have his fans, calling him a “Hero” but the US State Department is still trying to get the NSA leaker back to the US photo CodyGat via Wikimedia commons

“Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted,” Snowden said. “I will be submitting my request to Russia today and hope it will be accepted favorably.”

Human Rights Watch activist Tatyana Lokshina, who was at the meeting with Snowden, said the former NSA contractor was not concerned about a demand from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he refrain from releasing harmful information about the United States while on Russian soil.

“He has no problem with Putin’s condition, because he does not believe he damaged the United States or is damaging it” by revealing classified information about U.S. data surveillance, Lokshina said.

Snowden originally said he would apply for asylum from Russia about 11 days ago. But Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Snowden later decided not to apply, after Putin made clear there would be limits placed on what he could do and say.

In his statement Friday, Snowden defended his decision to leak details of secret NSA surveillance programs, which he said violated U.S. law. He rejected “secret court rulings” that justified the programs. “The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law,” he said.

“I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing,” Snowden said. “I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. 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.”

He added: “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.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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