Alleged Snowden Statement: Obama Administration ‘Using Citizenship As A Weapon’
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) - A statement was posted to Wikileaks Monday, reportedly penned by National Security Agency informant Edward Snowden.
The post, allegedly written by Snowden in Moscow, gave reasons for his leaving Hong Kong.
“It became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth,” Snowden writes.
“On Thursday, President [Barack] Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions,” he continued. “This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal [sic]penalty of exile.”
Snowden is quoted as additionally stating, “These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”
The statement was posted at 21:40 Coordinated Universal Time. It largely focuses on strong criticism of the Obama administration.
“For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum,” he reportedly wrote. “Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon.”
The father of the NSA leaker spoke of his son’s connections to Wikileaks while acknowledging Friday that his son broke the law.
“I don’t want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” Lonnie Snowden said while on NBC’s “Today” show. “I think WikiLeaks, if you’ve looked at past history, you know, their focus isn’t necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible.”
Snowden also said that he doesn’t think his son committed treason, as the Obama administration renewed its calls to Russia to expel Snowden so he can be tried under the Espionage Act.
In conceding his son’s guilt, Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, told NBC that his lawyer had informed Attorney General Eric Holder that he believes his son would voluntarily return to the United States if the Justice Department promises not to hold him before trial and not subject him to a gag order.
U.S. officials said their outreach to Russia, Ecuador and other countries where Snowden might travel to or seek refuge is ongoing.
“We continue to be in touch, via diplomatic and law enforcement channels, with countries through which Mr. Snowden might transit or that could serve as a final destination, also in touch, clearly, with the Russian authorities,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. “We’re advising governments that Mr. Snowden is wanted on felony charges and should not be allowed to proceed any further, other than necessary to return to the United States. So we continue to make that active case through diplomatic and law enforcement channels.”
Ventrell said the U.S. message to Russia has been consistent.
“We don’t want this to negatively impact bilateral relations. It’s understandable that there are some issues raised by this, but from our perspective, based on our cooperative history of law enforcement, and especially since the Boston bombings, that there’s certainly a basis for expelling Mr. Snowden,” he said, citing “the status of his travel documents and the pending charges against him.”
The State Department revoked Snowden’s visa last weekend.
Ecuadorean officials have said publicly they cannot start considering Snowden’s asylum request until he arrives either in Ecuador or in an Ecuadorean embassy.
Two government officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations said Ecuador had been making detailed plans to receive and host Snowden.
One of the officials said those plans had been thwarted by Russia’s refusal to let Snowden leave or be picked up by Ecuadorean officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the case by name.
Snowden intended to travel from Moscow with the intention of going on to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito but after he was held up in the Moscow airport, Ecuador asked Russia to let him take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on a pre-planned official trip, in order to be taken back to Quito by Patino, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Russians rejected Ecuador’s requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told reporters on Thursday that Snowden was “in the hands of the authorities” in Russia.
But Russian authorities have said Snowden is outside Russian control in a transit area of the Moscow airport, which is technically not Russian territory.
Edward Snowden is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws for leaking information about NSA surveillance of Internet and telephone records to detect terrorist plots.
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