Sunday 18 February 2018

Snowden breaks silence to threaten new leaks

Kevin Rawlinson

FORMER US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has broken his silence for the first time since he fled to Moscow eight days ago to say he remains free to make new disclosures about US spying activity.

In a letter to Ecuador, Mr Snowden said the US was illegally persecuting him for revealing its

electronic surveillance programme, PRISM. He also thanked Ecuador for helping him get to Russia and for examining his asylum request. It has also emerged he has applied for political asylum in Russia.

Meanwhile, relations between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are becoming "incredibly strained" over his part in attempts to give Mr Snowden refuge.

The tensions, confirmed by a Quito source, could bring into question Mr Assange's own position within the South American nation's London embassy if they remain unresolved – more than a year after he claimed asylum there in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, only to be prevented from leaving by British police.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa is said to have been angered by WikiLeaks' part in Mr Snowden being handed a letter guaranteeing him safe passage.

Mr Snowden is believed to still be in the transit area of a Russian airport while on the run from the CIA after leaking details of the US National Security Agency's interception of communications data. Mr Correa has already shown his fury with his own diplomat, London consul Fidel Narvaez, who with Mr Assange organised for the document to be given to Mr Snowden. Mr Correa called the move, made without consultation, a "serious error" for which the consul was likely to be punished. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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