“Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” the letter says.
There’s one obvious problem with the request: Currently, the 30-year-old American cannot leave Russia.
As Snowden’s Moscow lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is employed by the Kremlin’s security service (FSB), said when Snowden made the same offer to Germany: “Snowden will not go to Germany. This is not possible because he has no right to cross Russian borders.”
The U.S. revoked Snowden’s passport on June 22, a day before he traveled from Hong Kong to Moscow. WikiLeaks obtained an Ecuadorian travel document for Snowden so that he could leave Hong Kong, but the unsigned document became void when Snowden landed in Russia.
So it seems Snowden can’t leave Russia unless the U.S. reinstates his passport, offers him amnesty (both highly unlikely), or the Kremlin allows an NSA-trained hacker who stole an enormous cache of classified NSA files and knows his way around NSA interviews to travel to Brazil after rejecting the notion that he could go to Germany for similar reasons.
On July 2, Brazil chose not to respond to an asylum plea from Snowden.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has acknowledges that Snowden reached out to the Kremlin in Hong Kong, claims that the U.S. “blocked him on our territory” — even though Snowden never had the requisite paperwork to leave Russia.
Nevertheless, Putin added: “Such a present for us for Christmas.”
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