Reuters reports: Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has broken his silence for the first time since he fled to Moscow eight days ago to say he remains free to make new disclosures about U.S. spying activity.
In a letter to Ecuador, Snowden said the United States was illegally persecuting him for revealing its electronic surveillance program, PRISM. He also thanked Ecuador for helping him get to Russia and for examining his asylum request.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden said in an undated Spanish-language letter sent to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, seen by Reuters.
“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank,” part of the text read, according to a translation.
A Russian Foreign Ministry official tells the Los Angeles Times that Snowden has reached out to 15 countries for political asylum: “It was a desperate measure on his part after Ecuador disavowed his political protection credentials,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In the document [he handed to Russian officials] Snowden reiterated once again that he is not a traitor and explained his actions only by a desire to open the world’s eyes on the flagrant violations by U.S. special services not only of American citizens but also citizens of European Union including their NATO allies.”
The New York Times reports: President Vladimir V. Putin said on Monday that Edward J. Snowden, the former national security staffer accused of espionage, would not receive political asylum in Russia unless he stopped publishing classified documents that hurt the interests of the United States.
At a news conference here, Mr. Putin said that since it appeared Mr. Snowden was going to continue publishing leaks, his chances of staying in Russia were slim. Mr. Putin also pushed back against efforts by the United States to persuade the Russian government to extradite Mr. Snowden, making it clear that Russia would not comply.
“Russia never gives up anyone to anybody and is not planning to,” Mr. Putin said.