CIA whistleblower attacks Obama
Published 02/07/2013 | 03:32
Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused US president Barack Obama of denying him a right to asylum and of putting political pressure on countries from which he has requested refuge.
In a statement published on the WikiLeaks website, Mr Snowden said the president was practising the "old, bad tools of political aggression", saying that such "deception" was "not justice".
The former CIA analyst, who leaked details of secret surveillance operations in the UK and US, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia after White House officials requested his extradition. He is still believed to be in an airport in Moscow since arriving in the country on June 23, but has not been seen in public.
In the statement Mr Snowden thanked "friends new and old" for his continued liberty, adding: "On Thursday, President 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.
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me."
Mr Snowden said the White House was "using citizenship as a weapon" and had denied him the right to seek asylum by revoking his passport, "leaving me a stateless person" and stopping him from "exercising a basic human right... the right to seek asylum".
He added: "In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised - and it should be. I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many."
Mr Snowden has also written to the president of Ecuador praising his country's "bravery" in considering his request for political asylum, it has been revealed. His letter to president Rafael Correa, written in Spanish, was leaked to the Press Association by sources in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.
Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks website said Mr Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries. China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Venezuela and Russia are among those where Mr Snowden is seeking refuge, a statement on the website revealed. Requests for asylum were handed to an official at the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on Sunday by WikiLeaks legal adviser Sarah Harrison and Russian officials are now delivering them to the relevant embassies in the capital.
A spokesman for Ireland's department of justice said the department does not comment on individual cases. "Under the Irish legislation, Ireland is only permitted to accept asylum applications from persons who have landed in the state or are already in the state," he said.