Russia extends asylum for Edward Snowden

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0609-edward-snowden.jpg_full_600(CNN) — Edward Snowden may stay in Russia longer than first thought.

Snowden has said the time isn’t right for him to return to the United States, where he could face criminal charges for leaking classified information. Russia gave him asylum for a year.

Now Russia says it will continue to extend asylum protections to Snowden and won’t send him back home.

That word came Friday from Alexy Pushkov, a legislator who is head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Duma, Russia’s lower house. He spoke about Snowden at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Russia’s position basically buys Snowden more time as he mulls his next move.

Snowden has said he wants to return home but also wants whistle-blower protection. The U.S. government, meanwhile, says it will not offer clemency.

In an online chat Thursday, Snowden said that returning to the U.S. “is the best resolution for all parties,” but “it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistle-blower protection laws.”

He pointed out that the U.S. government’s Whistleblower Protection Act doesn’t cover someone like him, a former government contractor.

“There are so many holes in the laws, the protections they afford are so weak, and the processes for reporting they provide are so ineffective that they appear to be intended to discourage reporting of even the clearest wrongdoing,” he wrote. “… My case clearly demonstrates the need for comprehensive whistle-blower protection act reform.”

Snowden offered his remarks from Russia, where he’s been since June, having been granted a one-year asylum. Pushkov’s remarks appear to open the door to an extension of that asylum.

The U.S. government hasn’t stayed silent on his case, either.

On Thursday, around the time that Snowden was answering questions online, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “if Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.”

The government would take the same tack with anyone willing to plead guilty, Holder said at an event at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

But in Snowden’s case, the attorney general insisted, “Clemency isn’t something that we (are) willing to consider.”

7 comments

  • dailydebacle

    For somebody intent on exposing government secrets, he sure picked a strange place to hang out. Better not fall out of favor with the Ruskies. Next stop North Korea?

  • Guest

    Project MINARET was a sister project to Project SHAMROCK operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), which, after intercepting electronic communications that contained the names of predesignated US citizens, passed them to other government law enforcement and intelligence organizations.[1] Intercepted messages were disseminated to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and the Department of Defense.

    The names were on "watch lists" of American citizens, generated by Executive Branch law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to detect communications involving the listed individuals. There was no judicial oversight, and the project had no warrants for interception.

  • Guest

    Project SHAMROCK, considered to be the sister project for Project MINARET, was an espionage exercise, started in August 1945[1] that involved the accumulation of all telegraphic data entering into or exiting from the United States. The Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA)[2] and its successor NSA were given direct access to daily microfilm copies of all incoming, outgoing, and transiting telegrams via the Western Union and its associates RCA and ITT. NSA did the operational interception, and, if information that would be of interest to other intelligence agencies was found, the material was passed to them.[3] "Intercepted messages were disseminated to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and the Department of Defense." No court authorized the operation and there were no warrants.

    At the height of Project SHAMROCK, 150,000 messages a month were printed and analyzed by NSA personnel. In May 1975 however, Congressional critics began to investigate and expose the program. As a result, NSA director Lew Allen terminated it, on his own authority rather than that of other intelligence agencies.

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