“Congressional leaders dismiss clemency for Snowden”


By Meredith Clark

The leaders of the Congressional intelligence committees said Sunday they oppose any possibility of clemency for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who released thousands of documents shedding light on the agency’s constant global surveillance.

Nearly five months after the first reports based on the documents were published, Snowden – who is living in Russian under temporary asylum – requested clemency through a German member of parliament. Snowden also suggested he would be willing to testify before Congress about NSA abuses and help German authorities investigate allegations of U.S. spying on their country.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) have been forceful defenders of the intrusive and secretive surveillance programs, many of which collect private information from US citizens and companies without their knowledge.

The revelations, which have appeared chiefly in The Washington Post and the Guardian, have stoked public outrage and harmed U.S. diplomatic relations with many key allies.


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“Edward Snowden emerges, wants asylum in Russia”


MOSCOWNational Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants asylum in Russia and is willing to stop sharing information as a trade-off for such a deal, according to a lawmaker who was among a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday at the Moscow airport where he has been marooned for weeks.

Snowden appeared nervous, but in apparently good health during the meeting behind closed doors in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport, Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov told reporters.

Human Rights Watch provided a photo of Snowden at the meeting, the first new image to appear of the former NSA systems analyst since the Guardian newspaper broke the story of widespread U.S. Internet surveillance based on his leaks.

Whether Russia would be willing to take Snowden up on his request is unclear. The Kremlin has signaled that it wants Snowden out. But granting asylum would be a diplomatically risky move, threatening to worsen Moscow-Washington already strained by U.S. criticism of President Vladimir Putin‘s crackdown on the country’s opposition and Putin’s allegation that the U.S. is meddling in Russian affairs.


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Russia and NSA leaker Edward Snowden



NSA leaker Edward Snowden is in the transit zone at the international airport in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.

“He is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now,” Putin said. “Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.”

Putin said Snowden’s arrival in Russia was “completely unexpected.”

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“U.S. to Russia: Give us Snowden”



WASHINGTON – The bizarre journey of Edward Snowden is far from over. After spending a night in Moscow‘s airport, the former National Security Agency contractor and admitted leaker of U.S. state secrets was expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.

But the U.S. says Moscow should hand Snowden over to Washington.

Several Russian news agencies were saying early Monday that Snowden had checked in for a flight to Havana.

Snowden, also a former CIA technician, fled Hong Kong on Sunday to dodge U.S. efforts to extradite him on espionage charges. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, said his government had received an asylum request. He added Monday that Ecuador’s decision about the request involves “freedom of expression and … the security of citizens around the world.” He did not say how long it would take Ecuador to decide.

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has said it would help Snowden.

Ecuador has rejected the United States’ previous efforts at cooperation, and has been helping WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange avoid prosecution by allowing him to stay at its embassy in London.

Snowden was on a flight from Hong Kong that arrived in Moscow Sunday and was booked on a flight to Cuba Monday, the Russian news agencies ITAR-Tass and Interfax reported, citing unnamed airline officials.

Patino said, “We know that he’s currently in Moscow, and we are … in touch with the highest authorities of Russia.”


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“Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong, aided by WikiLeaks”


By Jake Carpenter, Holly Yan and Nic Robertson, CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) — Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday for a third country “through a lawful and normal channel,” the Hong Kong government said.

And he left with the help of WikiLeaks, who assisted with Snowden’s “political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers (and) safe exit from Hong Kong.” the group said on Twitter.

Snowden took off not long after the United States asked Hong Kong to extradite the man who leaked top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs.

The U.S. government had also asked Hong Kong to issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said.

But officials said there were problems with the request.

“Since the documents provided by the U.S. government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR government has requested the U.S. government to provide additional information,” the Hong Kong government said in a statement. “… As the HKSAR government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

The statement did not say what additional information Hong Kong needed from the United States, nor did it say where Snowden was headed.

U.S. federal prosecutors have charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person.

The latter two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act.


Criminal Complaints Have been filed against the leaker, Edward Snowden

The Washington Post Friday, June 21, 2013 6:11:54 PM

National News Alert

U.S. charges Edward Snowden with espionage in sealed criminal complaint

Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against the former National Security Agency contractor who has admitted leaking a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials. Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.


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