Yesterday, Reuters reported Edward Snowden still in hiding at a Moscow airport. President Vladimir Putin called any U.S. accusations that Russia was aiding him as "ravings and rubbish," stating that Russia will not extradite Mr. Snowden.
In the meantime, Ecuador considers Edward Snowden's asylum request, asking Washington D.C. to make any argument it has for extradition. President Rafael Correa has said, in order for Mr. Snowden's asylum application to be processed, he must be inside Ecuador or an Ecuadorian Embassy - so at present the Ecuadorian government has issued a "letter of safe passage for Edward Snowden" asking other countries to permit him to transit their territory.
President Obama has downplayed the Snowden matter, describing it as "routine law enforcement," and stating, "in terms of U.S. interests, the damage was done with the initial leaks," and, "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a twenty-nine year old hacker."
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday shows most Americans more likely to view Snowden as "a patriot" rather than "a traitor." Also, Just Foreign Policy is gathering signatures for a petition to President Correa urging him to grant Edward Snowden's asylum request. The petition presently carries over 17,000 signatures, including Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden, and whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg.
Below, Edward Snowden discusses his motivation behind the NSA leak in a Washington Post video courtesy of Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, Hong Kong, June 2013.
Working primarily with Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian (London), which published a series of exposés based on Snowden's disclosures in June 2013, Snowden revealed information about a variety of classified intelligence programs, including the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. Snowden said the leaks were an effort "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
On June 14, 2013, US federal prosecutors filed a sealed complaint, made public on June 21, charging Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person; the latter two allegations are under the Espionage Act.
Snowden's leaks are said to rank among the most significant breaches in the history of the NSA. Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian in Washington, said disclosures linked to Snowden have "confirmed longstanding suspicions that NSA's surveillance in this country is far more intrusive than we knew."