Russia may offer asylum to NSA whistleblower
June 11, 2013
The revelation of the National Security Agency's various domestic data collection programs has dominated the global media since the story broke on June 6. Edward Snowden, the four-year veteran of the NSA who explained the details of the programs to The Guardian and also revealed his identity, fled the United States soon after. He is currently believed to be in Hong Kong, according to The Guardian, and Russia is allegedly considering extending an offer of political asylum to the former government contractor. This topic is the likely focus of numerous individuals using a prepaid phone card to contact their relatives.
The news source reported that the offer came from Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a recent interview with the Russian media, he said, "If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We'll act according to facts."
While Snowden has yet to make any official public requests for asylum to Russia or any other country, he did state that he wanted to "seek asylum in a country with shared values." Given Russia's previous record of human rights issues and political persecution, it is unclear how he would treat such an offer.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. National Intelligence director, James R. Clapper, recently spoke publicly about the purposes of PRISM, one of the programs Snowden revealed, stating that it was intended only to unearth data related foreign intelligence, not spy with impunity on law-abiding citizens.