Snowden offers help to Brazil in exchange for asylum

Snowden offers help to Brazil in exchange for asylum

Summary: The whistleblower asks Brazilian government asylum for the second time


NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has offered to help the Brazilian government in its investigations around US spying in exchange for permanent asylum in the country.

In an open letter published by Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo today (17), the former NSA contractor suggests - without addressing president Dilma Rousseff directly - that his ability to speak is limited in Russia, where is temporarily based.

Snowden also says that this situation can only change and he will only be able to assist governments that have been spied on such as Brazil until a country grants him permanent asylum. Back in July, Snowden sent asylum requests to 21 countries including Brazil and other Latin American nations - at the time, the Brazilian government said it would not respond to the request.

Snowden seems confident that the events that have taken place since his initial request was denied mean his assistance is more valuable to Brazil than ever before. 

"These [NSA] programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power," Snowden says.

"Many Brazilian senators agree, and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so," he adds.

"Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak."

In his open letter, Snowden says that the NSA spying activities "threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time" and says that the episodes involving the monitoring of president Rousseff's communications as well as oil company Petrobras, were a breach of privacy despite the US attempts to describe it as something that was needed to ensure safety.

"They [the NSA] did it without asking the public in any country, even their own," Snowden adds.

Snowden's original asylum request to Dilma Rousseff's government was declined only a few days before it emerged that Brazil was also on the list of countries being spied. President Rousseff only found out that her own communications were being monitored in September.


In his open letter to Brazil, Snowden says that Brazil's reaction to these revelations - which included a whole host of measures including the creation of a national email system, controversial demands that data is hosted locally and laying fibre-optic lines directly to Europe and South American nations to avoid use of the US-centric internet backbone which is said to have facilitated NSA spying - has been "inspiring" and that has influenced his decision to ask for asylum again.

"If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems," the whistleblower says.

Read Edward Snowden's full open letter to the people of Brazil here.

Topics: Security, Government, IT Security in the Snowden Era

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  • Hmm

    I used to think we should control the internet seeing that we invented it but, now I think every country should probably have their own.
    • using the wrong words

      Seems like traitor Eric Snowden is more appropriate that whistle blower.
      • Treason against the United States

        According to Article III of the US Constitution, Treason against the US is defined as "making war on the United States or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort". There is no evidence that I'm aware of that he did any of the above.

        What he does appear to be guilty of is unauthorized disclosure of classified information, which is an entirely different offense.
        John L. Ries
        • But

          The information he is disclosing is methods and intelligence gathering that help the enemies of the United State then it is treason. In addition it seem he trying to sell the information to foreign powers for exchange for asylum. The guy is not hero a criminal but no different then the scum who sold serest information to the KGB during the cold war.
          • There's a difference...

            ...between public and private disclosure. Privately disclosing classified information to a government or organization with which we were at war would, in my opinion constitute treason, as would actively collaborating with the enemy in other ways (as Robert Garwood apparently did during the Vietnam War). But Snowden's disclosures (except for whatever he may have given the Russians, and we're not at war with them) have been public, which means that the US government found out at just about the same time as AQ.

            There is no evidence I'm aware of that suggests that Snowden was trying to aid AQ or that he adheres to them.
            John L. Ries
          • BTW

            I think Timothy McVeigh was guilty of treason, but he probably could not have been convicted due to the two eyewitness rule in the Constitution.
            John L. Ries
          • BTW

            We were never at war with the Soviet Union. We definitely weren't friends and we had missiles pointed at each other, but the activities of John Walker and others qualified as espionage, not treason.
            John L. Ries
          • Whoa....

            We all know the information gathered is largely unconstitutional so speaking up about it is 'whistle blowing', that's all. Just because the USA got uncovered and caught doesn't make any difference. Much of what was going on was against other countries laws. That is in no way treason. I trust other countries will see fit to spy on the USA and it's officials just to keep things on an even playing field.

            His life is over regardless... that's a harsh penalty for pointing out the illegality of government work.
          • His life is probably not over

            He's only 30, so unless someone kills him (highly unlikely, given past history), he probably has another 40-60 years to live. He may never go home again, but he's highly unlikely to be assassinated.

            But time will tell. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on his outliving me.
            John L. Ries
          • And the fact remains

            Daniel Ellsberg did something similar to what Snowden did, stayed home, faced criminal prosecution, beat the rap, and has been a free (and very outspoken) man ever since.
            John L. Ries
          • But...

   citizens in a free country, we needed to know what was going on. NSA et al were far too comfortable and free to do pretty much as they wished, hiding in the shadows for far too long. Now it's their turn to dance under the bright lights.
            The snooping practices of the NSA are not restricted to 'criminals' and terrorists, but undoubtedly include our own domestic Skype calls, our gmail correspondence, and the contents of our Dropbox accounts. So it's good that we now know what they have been up to. Unless you think we should have zero privacy rights...
            Too-Tired Techie
      • International hero...

        So... The NSA is secretly spying on everyone in the world, without any oversight or governance, and making use of the data any way they want, even to potentially attempt to humiliate world leaders if they are found to veer off into adult areas of the internet. So one guy comes out and gives everyone a little insight into the illegal activities of domestic and international spying.

        Obama promised greater openness, more transparency, and greater safety for whistle blowers, but the only thing that has been delivered is the exact opposite. Good for Snowden to allow the illegalities of the US to come out in public light. The US should be ashamed. How much freedom do we all have to lose before we start to question the illegality of our elected and non-elected leaders?
      • brave words bradawn...

        ... how's that NSA characterc treating your animal crossing avatar? No, don't play? Funny, you sound like a puffed up little boy...
    • Every country does have its own Internet

      Indeed, every country has its own root domain (to include the USA). But they do all interconnect.
      John L. Ries
  • Meh

    Traitor/whistle blower, IMO there is a large grey area there.

    In other news, seems the Snowden debacle has mostly run it's course...
    • No grey area for me

      Snowden has given himself a very difficult life and perhaps a shortened one as well but he is a hero. Perhaps Brazil would be a good place for him for a while but they better hide him well. He has outed the NSA as the pathetic bunch of weasels they are they have been substantially weakened for good.
      • "Short and difficult life"?

        We'll see in due course. It's difficult in the short run, but a lot can happen in the course of a lifetime and he's only 30. I have not observed that US expats who annoy the federal government have a noticeably shorter life expectancy than those who don't. Indeed, there were a number of former Black Panthers (arguably terrorists) who left the country for Africa back in the 1970s and they appeared to live normal lives there.

        He'll never work as a system administrator again, but there are other things he can do.
        John L. Ries
      • Hero? Hardly a hero, not even close.

        You can debate the legality of the info gathering all you want, but in the end, the one undeniable truth that can never be changed is that one man decided he knew better then everyone else and disclosed information that could very well lead to the deaths of many people.

        All because one man weighed the cost of his actions, and in his arrogance deciding he knew what was best for you, your family, your friends, your neighbors - anyone you love.

        So much for democracy, seems some people are really happy with one person deciding their fate...
        • re: Hero? Hardly a hero, not even close.

          > the one undeniable truth that can
          > never be changed is that one man
          > decided he knew better then everyone else

          Well he certainly knew better than me because I was completely in the dark. I can't speak for you, of course.

          I think history will judge him well.
          none none
        • So much for democracy, seems some people are really happy with one ...

          ... person deciding their fate...

          Yeah, would much prefer a building full of fat krew cut white bread boys in Brooks Bros suits doing it for me...

          or even just two, Cheyney and Rummy were doozies, eh Farrel?