Irony: Edward Snowden chooses havens that repress Internet freedoms

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He said “provisions for censorship and criminal prosecutions of journalists are clear attempts to silence criticism.”

Journalist weighs in

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist at The Guardian to whom Mr. Snowden leaked some of the classified documents he stole from the NSA, defended the self-proclaimed whistleblower’s itinerary.

“He’s not searching for political nirvana; he’s searching for a place where he can be safe and remain free and participate in the debate,” he told CNN.

Mr. Greenwald said Mr. Snowden could rely on few countries that could stand up to the United States.

“He needs to find a place that is both able and willing to grant him asylum and shield him from [U.S.] prosecution. There aren’t many places on the Earth willing or able to do that,” Mr. Greenwald said.

Julian Assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, said Monday that the group was assisting Mr. Snowden at his request.

Mr. Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador and is sheltering in its embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning on sex charges.

He told reporters on a conference call that Mr. Snowden, who turned 30 on Friday, is being accompanied by WikiLeaks researcher Sarah Harrison and was “safe,” but declined to say where he was.

Mr. Assange reportedly is facing a grand jury probe over his role in the publication by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of State Department and military documents leaked by Pfc. Bradley Manning. Mr. Assange has said the secret probe is being carried out by U.S. prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia, the same federal jurisdiction where Mr. Snowden was indicted under seal on June 14.

The indictment was unsealed late Friday, revealing that the self-proclaimed whistleblower faced felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act punishable by life imprisonment.

Headed to Ecuador?

Mr. Snowden has applied to Iceland and other countries for asylum as well, Mr. Assange said, but is traveling on “a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadorean government” because the U.S. revoked his passport before his abrupt departure Sunday from Hong Kong.

Mr. Assange was asked about reports that Mr. Snowden had been interviewed by Chinese authorities before leaving the quasi-autonomous Chinese city-state. “As far as I am aware, that is false,” he said.

Reports from Moscow said Russian authorities were claiming Mr. Snowden, as a transit passenger, had not entered the country and that they had no grounds to arrest him.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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