Report: Snowden agrees to asylum in Venezuela; Update: Or does he?

posted at 11:21 am on July 9, 2013 by Allahpundit

I wonder if the propaganda value to Maduro was enough to justify this, or if there was some other price.

The Russians have been nudging him for days to move along to Caracas. He missed the deadline for their offer yesterday but the AP reported a few hours ago that he’d finally formally requested asylum this morning. If you believe the Russian lawmaker cited by the AP, it’s now a done deal. Fun fact: It was just a month ago that John Kerry reached out to Venezuela’s foreign minister for talks in hopes of improving relations in a post-Chavez hemisphere. Said the Venezuelan FM, “We have faith and confidence that this meeting marks the start of a relationship of respect.” The inchoate Venezuelan reset ended up working out as well as the Russian one did.

What might Maduro want from Snowden, besides some televised anti-American blather and, of course, intelligence on how better to build his own surveillance state? Maybe a little extra goodwill from America’s enemies:

Venezuela has reason to fear increasing irrelevance as North America becomes more energy independent. This makes Iran crucial. Mr. Maduro may be trying to establish himself as a leader as committed to the anti-American cause as was his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, who had a strong personal bond with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He also needs to establish his own place in South American politics…

[E]ven a government that locks down the press and spies on its own citizens without answering for it needs allies. No nation can survive in full isolation, especially when its economic power collapses.

Latin despots get this. Argentina is depositing goodwill in its account with Iran by blocking Alberto Nisman’s trip to Washington. Venezuela, by offering refuge to Edward Snowden, is undoubtedly making a similar offering to the enemies of its enemies.

Glenn Greenwald claimed this morning that “There are many more domestic stories coming, and big ones, and soon,” but there’s been no meaningful public backlash to the PRISM bombshell and it’s hard to imagine revelations about spying more comprehensive than that. I can imagine stuff that would cause a true scandal — if NSA was spying on Congress, for instance, or if there’s evidence of collected metadata being abused for political gain — but “they’re not just collecting data from Facebook, they’re collecting it from Twitter too!” isn’t going to move the needle. We’ll see.

As for Snowden, he’s got two problems. First, the U.S. revoked his passport so it’s unclear if he’ll be allowed to leave Moscow. As I understand it, though, passports aren’t always required for travel in asylum cases. And since Russia wants Snowden out of their hair at this point, they have no reason to be sticklers. Second, if EU countries treat his flight to Caracas the way they treated Evo Morales’s flight home to Bolivia, Snowden may have no direct route to South America headed west from Moscow. He might have to fly east, over China and the Pacific, to try to get there. Not impossible, but a much longer, more expensive trip. Is Maduro footing the bill? Is someone else?

Update: Hold the phone.

Did Venezuela suddenly get cold feet? Can’t wait to find out why.


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[E]ven a government that locks down the press and spies on its own citizens without answering for it needs allies. No nation can survive in full isolation, especially when its economic power collapses.

Which would make it hypocritical if the traitor, so upset at the NSA spying on Americans, accepts asylum from a nation who does much worse.

Happy Nomad on July 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Is Maduro footing the bill? Is someone else?

If you’re buying CITGO products or shopping at a CITGO, you are.

Steve Eggleston on July 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

And yet no one gives a flying flip about Hastings.

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Which would make it hypocritical hippiecritical if the traitor, so upset at the NSA spying on Americans, accepts asylum from a nation who does much worse.

Happy Nomad on July 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

ReWrite™ for humor.

Steve Eggleston on July 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

The Man without a Country… somebody should write a book about that…

Khun Joe on July 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

If I were Snowden, I’d put on 20 lbs, get a tan and eye surgery, learn Spanish and get to the New World by any means possible. Then become a legal resident of the US under the soon to be passed immigration reform. But then, if I were Snowden I wouldn’t voluntarily put myself into the box he’s in.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on July 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Snowden is like that old Kingston Trio song, the MTA…Here

right2bright on July 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Did y’all ever figure out if he is a traitor or a hero?

Bmore on July 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Here’s hoping Snowden wakes up tomorrow as Winston Smith in 1984.

And the only Julia in sight is the one from the Obama campaign ad.

Marcola on July 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Did y’all ever figure out if he is a traitor or a hero?

Bmore on July 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

There has never been any doubt that this loser is a traitor.

Happy Nomad on July 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Made to order for him. Ted Kennedy would be so proud.

a capella on July 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

The Man without a Country… somebody should write a book about that…

Khun Joe on July 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Already been Done.

Dreams of My Father by Barrack Obama.

portlandon on July 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Because Wikileaks aka Children of the Corn is adept at legal and diplomatic negotiations?

workingclass artist on July 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Even a government that locks down the press and spies on its own citizens without answering for it needs allies. No nation can survive in full isolation, especially when its economic power collapses.

Wait a sec, are talking about Venezuela or America?

abobo on July 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Made to order for him. Ted Kennedy would be so proud.

a capella on July 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Nathan Bedford Forest is looking down in approval on
George Wallace looking down in approval on
Robert Byrd looking down in approval on
Ted Kennedy looking in approval on
Our Dear Leader Barack.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Did y’all ever figure out if he is a traitor or a hero?

Bmore on July 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

You can be both…and I think he was.

He exposed a huge problem in the administration, but did it in a traitorish way.

right2bright on July 9, 2013 at 12:02 PM

There has never been any doubt that this loser is a traitor.

Happy Nomad on July 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

How can it possibly be traitorous to expose that our government has been violating The Constitution? Are conservatives now happy with creative re-interpretation when it suits them?

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

The vile, anti-American traitor Edward Snowden should be captured and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Shame on any of you who sanctify this Michael Moore and Bradley Manning bosom buddy!

bluegill on July 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Whatever else one can say about Snowden, he’s obviously not too smart. He should have gone to whatever country he was going to live in and communicated with Glenn Greenwald from there.

Even now, I think his best option would be to return to the U.S. and take his chances with a jury.

J.S.K. on July 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

The vile, anti-American traitor Edward Snowden should be captured and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

bluegill on July 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Since when has it become “anti-American” to expose that our government is violating our Constitution?

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Running out of options, isn’t he?

scalleywag on July 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Since when has it become “anti-American” to expose that our government is violating our Constitution?

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Ask Happy Nomad, apparently he has the answer.

DDay on July 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Running out of options, isn’t he?

scalleywag on July 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

When a viable option is Venez-freakin’-uela, I’d say so.

thebrokenrattle on July 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Since when has it become “anti-American” to expose that our government is violating our Constitution?

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Because he filled copious amounts of paperwork, plus a polygraph, stating he would not divulge classified information when he was hired for that job. There are different/better ways he could have went about expressing his displeasure with certain procedures of the NSA, or any other 3-letter agency for that matter. But, instead, he decided to go to China, of all places, to expose said procedures. Anyone who exposes information that is harmful to even one person that is a US citizen is a coward and a traitor, in my book.

Static21 on July 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Because he filled copious amounts of paperwork, plus a polygraph, stating he would not divulge classified information when he was hired for that job. There are different/better ways he could have went about expressing his displeasure with certain procedures of the NSA, or any other 3-letter agency for that matter. But, instead, he decided to go to China, of all places, to expose said procedures. Anyone who exposes information that is harmful to even one person that is a US citizen is a coward and a traitor, in my book.

Static21 on July 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Then your “book” needs re-writing. Several previous NSA whistleblowers have tried to expose the problem, to no avail, and producing no changes.

There are levels to loyalty, and promising to be loyal to government secrets only has meaning when that government is loyal to its own Constitution. If not, your loyalty is to rat out the gangster conspiracy. Of course.

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

When a viable option is Venez-freakin’-uela, I’d say so.

thebrokenrattle on July 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Well maybe he didn’t think this through so well if that’s what it’s come down to. Still, with Obama’s record of punishing whistleblowers, he can’t really come back.

scalleywag on July 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Then your “book” needs re-writing. Several previous NSA whistleblowers have tried to expose the problem, to no avail, and producing no changes.

There are levels to loyalty, and promising to be loyal to government secrets only has meaning when that government is loyal to its own Constitution. If not, your loyalty is to rat out the gangster conspiracy. Of course.

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

So, “his” way was more appropriate than the whistleblowers? Do I believe in everything our government does in relation to classified procedure? Nope, but I am not going to risk fellow Americans. I hope he enjoys Venezuela.

Static21 on July 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I don’t see how it’s wrong to expose the government for any type of fraud, and what the NSA is doing is fraud. They misrepresented what they were doing and overstepped their boundaries. They infringed on people’s rights and all for what? In the name of “security.

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
― James Madison

scalleywag on July 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

This is way to much of a logical statement, you may need to reconsider.

DDay on July 9, 2013 at 12:52 PM

As much as I completely abhor our current administration and the ineptitude that radiates from it daily…there’s most certainly some “behind-the-scenes” stuff going on with Snowden that we aren’t hearing about. Obama claims he’s not that concerned with “a 29 year old hacker” publicly, but that doesn’t mean there’s some international hardball being played out concerning Snowden’s eventual final destination.

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

So, “his” way was more appropriate than the whistleblowers? Do I believe in everything our government does in relation to classified procedure? Nope, but I am not going to risk fellow Americans. I hope he enjoys Venezuela.

Static21 on July 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

What risk, do you really believe these foreign governments didn’t know there information was being recorded and stored? Snowden to this point has done nothing but to expose how our government is violating our Constitution and if you agree with this, then yes you are part of the problem.

DDay on July 9, 2013 at 12:56 PM

So, “his” way was more appropriate than the whistleblowers? Do I believe in everything our government does in relation to classified procedure? Nope, but I am not going to risk fellow Americans. I hope he enjoys Venezuela.

Static21 on July 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Whistleblowing in the old way did not work. It was tried and failed. We can repeat that, but expecting a different outcome is insanity.

The risk to “fellow Americans” from this evesdropping can hardly be overstated. The collection of all this data is the way to intimidate anybody, to subvert anybody, to blackmail anybody to do whatever you want. It is the most exciting resource any politician has ever seen. That is the domestic end to our Constitutional Republic.

The concentration of all this data then becomes the most desirable resource in the world. Politicians cannot protect it. NSA cannot protect it. Others will get to it, and use it, against our interests. That is the foreign end to our Constitutional Republic.

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

And since Russia wants Snowden out of their hair at this point, they have no reason to be sticklers.

I’m not so sure Russia wants Snowden out of their hair. Russia has Snowden in their LAIR, and might want him to stay there longer to get all the information they can from him, dangling asylum as bait to extract information from him.

Steve Z on July 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Obama claims he’s not that concerned with “a 29 year old hacker” publicly, but that doesn’t mean there’s some international hardball being played out concerning Snowden’s eventual final destination.

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Exactly.

scalleywag on July 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Running out of options, isn’t he?

Now his only problem is “How to get there!”
or
This plane has been diverted to an alternate airport in the USA…

CiLH1 on July 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

…but that doesn’t mean there’s some international hardball being played…

Correction: but that doesn’t mean there’s not some international hardball being played

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

That is the foreign end to our Constitutional Republic.

PseudoRandom on July 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Agreed. I am stunned that fellow “conservatives” think this invasion of privacy is just fine and that Snowden is a traitor. I much prefer the threat of terrorist attacks to this eavesdropping program. We live in a nation of control freaks.

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

So the limited government conservatives here have no problem with the Federal government having unlimited powers to monitor US citizens. And you so called Constitutional Conservatives have no reservations with the NSA’s surveillance program violating the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.

antifederalist on July 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Agreed. I am stunned that fellow “conservatives” think this invasion of privacy is just fine and that Snowden is a traitor. I much prefer the threat of terrorist attacks to this eavesdropping program. We live in a nation of control freaks.

John the Libertarian on July 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Stunned?

Believe me…I’m stunned quite often at some of the things “fellow conservatives” say here. Not this time tho. Snowden chose the wrong path to go with his information, and that’s putting it lightly. He went to the media instead of through the proper channels, like his congressman for instance.

I don’t believe you’ll find that most around HA are “just fine” with the NSA spying. Quite the opposite. But Snowden’s actions to date diminished national security. That makes him a classic traitor in my book.

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

It’s a difficult issue. Yes, he’s a traitor. But going through traditional whistleblowing methods really doesn’t work. After some initial outrage, things will be forgotten and this probably won’t work either. The state is inexorable and real life is messier than our ideals. And it’s only going to get messier.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Good on Snowden, he has made a good choice. He didn’t say, but I believe his decision was based upon Venezuela’s most precious natural resource, their indigenous female population. They do have some hotties down there, don’t ya know.

SpiderMike on July 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

He needs to take a good supply of toilet paper with him.

hip shot on July 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Is it me or were Venezuelan Prez Maduro and Johnny Dangerously villain Roman Maroni separated at birth?

Sacramento on July 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Not Yet??

WikiLeaks tweets Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela

40 mins ago from twitter.com/wikileaks by editor

canopfor on July 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Allapundit, wrong again. Total miscommunication of what actually happened. And if you,Allapundit, think Snowden has had no impact, then obviously you are not following the news very closely. The international community is up in arms, most recently Brazil, which just found out it is one of the most spied upon countries. Hmmm, wonder how many terrorists came from Brazil. You need to read The Guardian on a daily basis as you are falling behind on this story. You have a very strange attitude toward this situation. I am wondering if you voted for Obama and, my prediction, you support Jeb Bush for President next time. Are you a globalist?

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/07/09/report-snowden-accepts-venezuelas-political-asylum-request/

Puma for Life on July 9, 2013 at 4:40 PM

It’s a difficult issue. Yes, he’s a traitor. But going through traditional whistleblowing methods really doesn’t work. After some initial outrage, things will be forgotten and this probably won’t work either. The state is inexorable and real life is messier than our ideals. And it’s only going to get messier.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Snowden didn’t even try to go through any alternative method…in fact, it seems he planned on a media expose for quite a while in advance. He took a lower paying job in order to gain more information. Granted, we don’t know everything here about this, and most is pure speculation.

But the guy had donated a couple hundred bucks on two occasions to the Ron Paul POTUS campaign…and had he gone to Paul with his info, I have no doubt whatsoever he would have been stoked to follow through with this. I mean, something like this is right up Ron Paul’s alley…while he was a sitting Rep.

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM

There has never been any doubt that this loser is a traitor.

Happy Nomad on July 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

A traitor to Obama’s and the N-Stasi-A’s Fascist State.

VorDaj on July 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM