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    Senior Member Wajid47's Avatar
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    Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

    The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.

    Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA.

    In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

    He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

    Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."

    He has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

    'I am not afraid, because this is the choice I've made'

    Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week's series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

    He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for "a couple of weeks" in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

    As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. "That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world."

    On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent", and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

    In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. "I've left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay," he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.

    He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

    Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.

    Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.

    And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.

    "All my options are bad," he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.

    "Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets," he said.

    "We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."

    Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. "I am not afraid," he said calmly, "because this is the choice I've made."

    He predicts the government will launch an investigation and "say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become".

    The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night," he said, his eyes welling up with tears.

    'You can't wait around for someone else to act'

    Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.

    By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)

    In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".

    He recounted how his beliefs about the war's purpose were quickly dispelled. "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

    After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

    By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

    That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

    He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

    "Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he says. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."

    He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

    First, he said: "Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn't feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone". Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.

    He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in", and as a result, "I got hardened."

    The primary lesson from this experience was that "you can't wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act."

    Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".

    He described how he once viewed the internet as "the most important invention in all of human history". As an adolescent, he spent days at a time "speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own".

    But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."

    Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said.

    A matter of principle

    As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."

    For him, it is a matter of principle. "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to," he said.

    His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: "I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation," reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.

    Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.

    He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.

    His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. "That has not happened before," he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.

    Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president **** Cheney.

    Ever since last week's news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.

    He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.

    Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden's leaks began to make news.

    "I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

    He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

    As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it "harder for them to get dirty".

    He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.

    But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week's haul of stories, "I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...r-surveillance
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    Senior Moderator Superkaif's Avatar
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    Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK's Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.

    Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

    The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

    The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

    A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the matter had now been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

    The Guardian quotes Mr Snowden as saying he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, where he holed himself up in a hotel.

    He told the paper: "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded."

    Asked what he thought would happen to him, he replied: "Nothing good."

    He said he had gone to Hong Kong because of its "strong tradition of free speech".

    Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty with the US shortly before the territory returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

    However, Beijing can block any extradition if it believes it affects national defence or foreign policy issues.

    Mr Snowden has expressed an interest in seeking asylum in Iceland.

    However, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post quoted Iceland's ambassador to China as saying that "according to Icelandic law a person can only submit such an application once he/she is in Iceland".

    'Core values'


    In a statement, Booz Allen Hamilton confirmed Mr Snowden had been an employee for less than three months.

    "If accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," the statement said.

    The first of the leaks came out on Wednesday night, when the Guardian reported a US secret court had ordered phone company Verizon to hand over to the National Security Agency (NSA) millions of records on telephone call "metadata".

    The metadata include the numbers of both phones on a call, its duration, time, date and location (for mobiles, determined by which mobile signal towers relayed the call or text).

    That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a programme known as Prism.

    All the internet companies deny giving the US government access to their servers.

    Prism is said to give the NSA and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) access to emails, web chats and other communications directly from the servers of major US internet companies.

    The data are used to track foreign nationals suspected of terrorism or spying. The NSA is also collecting the telephone records of American customers, but not recording the content of their calls.

    'Gut-wrenching'


    On Saturday, US director of national intelligence James Clapper called the leaks "literally gut-wrenching".

    "I hope we're able to track down whoever's doing this, because it is extremely damaging to, and it affects the safety and security of this country," he told NBC News on Saturday.

    Prism was reportedly established in 2007 in order to provide in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information on foreigners overseas.

    The NSA has filed a criminal report with the US Justice Department over the leaks.

    The content of phone conversations - what people say to each other when they are on the phone - is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which forbids unreasonable searches.

    However, information shared with a third party, such as phone companies, is not out of bounds.

    That means that data about phone calls - such as their timing and duration - can be scooped up by government officials.

    Mr Clapper's office issued a statement on Saturday, saying all the information gathered under Prism was obtained with the approval of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (Fisa).

    Prism was authorised under changes to US surveillance laws passed under President George W Bush and renewed last year under Barack Obama.

    On Friday, Mr Obama defended the surveillance programmes as a "modest encroachment" on privacy, necessary to protect the US from terrorist attacks.

    "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program is about," he said, emphasising that the programmes were authorised by Congress.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22836378
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    Senior Member Felix's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    I feel deeply sorry for him. He could face charges of treason, for which the penalty could be death. It's doubly unfortunate that he's merely confirmed what many of us were pretty sure of, anyway.Think about it - how do you think companies like Google make their money? Mostly, by selling your data. And who's likely to be the highest bidder?
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    He is now twittering away......

    https://twitter.com/EJosephSnowden
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    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    RE : whistle blower

    Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty with the US shortly before the territory returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

    China can block any extradition if it believes it affects national defence or foreign policy issues.

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    Elite Member sparkling's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Guys obviously got big balls

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    Senior Member Sinbad's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Could Hong Kong shelter Edward Snowden?

    Edward Snowden, who has identified himself as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes, is believed to be holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong.

    Mr Snowden told The Guardian he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, after leaking information about the National Security Agency's surveillance programme,

    He said that he chose Hong Kong because the city has "a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent".

    Mr Snowden's current whereabouts cannot be confirmed, and the Hong Kong government has not publicly commented on his case, although journalists are staking out various hotels in Hong Kong where they believe Mr Snowden may be hiding.

    The US says it has referred the issue to its Department of Justice as a criminal matter. Some analysts and experts believe Mr Snowden faces the strong risk of extradition to the US, if such a move is requested.

    Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty with the US shortly before the territory returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

    "You get extraditions several times a year from Hong Kong," Clive Grossman S.C, a barrister and former vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, told the BBC.

    Under the Fugitive Offenders (United States of America) Order, both Hong Kong and the US have agreed to extradite someone who has committed "an offence which is punishable under the laws of both Parties by imprisonment or other form of detention for more than one year... unless surrender for such offence is prohibited by the laws of the requested Party."

    Regina Ip, a legislator and Hong Kong's former Secretary for Security, told reporters that the Hong Kong government was "obliged to comply with the terms of agreements" with the US government, including extradition treaties.

    "It's actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong," she said, referring to Mr Snowden.

    Hurdles to extradition

    However, the extradition process can be a long and complicated one in sensitive cases like this, Tim Parker, an immigration lawyer based in Hong Kong, told the BBC.

    "There are a number of hurdles that could come up for the extraditing authority, to the advantage of Snowden," he said.

    "There is a bar under Hong Kong's extradition law... to extradition for an offence that is of a political character, [where] the prosecution is thought not just to be the application of the criminal law, but to crush that person or to crush their dissent," Mr Parker said.

    Another potential hurdle would be any intervention from Beijing, which could block an extradition if it raised questions "going to their national security, foreign affairs, or defence", Mr Parker says.

    A handover could also be halted if Mr Snowden was believed to be in danger receiving of inhumane treatment in the US, Mr Parker added.

    "If Mr Snowden is at risk of being detained under the sort of conditions that Bradley Manning has reportedly been detained, which the UN special rapporteurs have said amounted to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment... then Hong Kong would not be allowed under its law, and could not extradite him to the US."

    A further consideration is what visa Mr Snowden used to enter Hong Kong. If his visa is due to expire soon, a formal extradition request may not be needed.

    However, it would not be "legally possible" under Hong Kong law for Mr Snowden to be forcibly taken to Beijing, Mr Parker says.

    "That would be a serious breach of the autonomy under Hong Kong's One Country Two Systems arrangement. There aren't really any known cases of that having been done off the books [either]," he says.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22837599

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    Retired AgNoStIc MuSliM's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    The revelation that the US was engaging in such a massive data mining operation is by itself not really surprising - it will be interesting to see how the American media treats these revelations given that their scope far exceeds anything Bush Jr. engaged in, and Bush was pilloried for his supposed violations of civil liberties.

    It will also be interesting to see the implications of these revelations, and the US government's defense of them, for similar actions by States such as Iran, Russia and China, whose governments are often attacked for resorting to similar data mining operations to target 'dissidents/political opposition'.
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    Senior Member Wajid47's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Quote Originally Posted by AgNoStIc MuSliM View Post
    The revelation that the US was engaging in such a massive data mining operation is by itself not really surprising - it will be interesting to see how the American media treats these revelations given that their scope far exceeds anything Bush Jr. engaged in, and Bush was pilloried for his supposed violations of civil liberties.

    It will also be interesting to see the implications of these revelations, and the US government's defense of them, for similar actions by States such as Iran, Russia and China, whose governments are often attacked for resorting to similar data mining operations to target 'dissidents/political opposition'.
    They ought to put sanctions on themselves and boycott themselves for human right violations
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    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    What's next for Snowden? Hong Kong tells leaker he'd be wise to leave
    http://www.theprovince.com/news/What...117/story.html

    Go to Iceland, young man ! Or else you will be BETRAYED by Hong Kong since Hong Kong is a US lapdog.

  11. #11
    Senior Member KingKong's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Good on the guy for sticking his neck out

  12. #12
    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Quote Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
    Good on the guy for sticking his neck out
    Yeah....soon his neck will get chopped off.


    Anyways :

    Donald Trump calls Edward Snowden a ‘grandstander’
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/20...ndstander.html

  13. #13
    Senior Member Wattan's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Good luck to the guy

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    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Quote Originally Posted by Wattan View Post
    Good luck to the guy
    Hope he knows how to hide. Maybe he should hide in India.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Felix's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Russia may grant asylum for CIA whistleblower

    MOSCOW, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia may grant political asylum to a former CIA whistleblower who has revealed Washington's highly classified global surveillance programs, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

    "If we receive such a request, we'll consider it," local business daily Kommersant quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

    Edward Snowden, 29, an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked to the Guardian last week details of how the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) "traced" millions of netizens worldwide, saying his goal was to inform U.S. citizens on how the government gathers private information under the so-called Patriot Act of 2001.

    Offering asylum to a former technical assistant for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who revealed his identity in China's Hong Kong on May 20 and checked out a local hotel on Monday, would benefit the entire international community, local expert said.

    "Russia, as a sovereign state, can offer asylum to anyone it considers to be right," Chief Editor of the Moscow's National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko told Xinhua.

    "In that particular case, Moscow offers protection to a person who has acted in the interests of the entire mankind," Korotchenko added.

    He noted that Snowden was by no means a spy or a renegade, as he has not sold his country's secrets but acted completely as a concerned citizen. "The information he has revealed is of high importance for any person in the world regardless of his or her nationality," he said.

    The possible decision by the Russian authorities, as he saw it, was "well-analysed and sound."

    Even if the whistleblower eventually appears in Russia, Korotchenko said, it would probably not harm the Russia-U.S. relations on the eve of a meeting between presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama in Northern Ireland on the sidelines of the G8 summit due next week.

    Meanwhile, Alexei Pushkov, head of the International Committee in the Russian State Duma, lower house of the parliament, believed Washington would be angered if Moscow grants asylum to the U.S. citizen.

    "The U.S. will be hysterical, as they recognize such a right for themselves only," Pushkov wrote in his Twitter Tuesday.

    Snowden previously served a number of roles in the intelligence community, including as a former technical assistant with the CIA and with several outside contractors.

    Reuters
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    Senior Member KingKong's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

    Russia or China is the obvious choice
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    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Edward Snowden gaining support !

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...owden/Dp03vGYD

    we petition the obama administration to:
    Pardon Edward Snowden

    Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.
    ........................................
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    Senior Member sami's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden gaining support !

    Great to see I will certainly sign such a petition
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    Senior Member Hafiz's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden gaining support !

    Quote Originally Posted by sami View Post
    Great to see I will certainly sign such a petition
    Go Sami Go !!!
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    Senior Member Pak92's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Snowden gaining support !

    Well done for bringing it to our attention
    The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Pak92 For This Useful Post: Aryan_B,Hafiz,Sinbad


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