Snowden: US engaging in “unlawful” attempt to block my asylum; Update: Asks for asylum in Russia?

posted at 10:01 am on July 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Unlawful“? Would that be something like taking material one doesn’t own, breaking security agreements one made, and publishing state secrets while fleeing to human-rights paradises like China and Russia?  Edward Snowden lashed out at the US’ aggressive attempts to force its former national-security worker back to face charges of illegal distribution of classified material by claiming the right to avoid prosecution:

The United States is preventing Edward Snowden from seeking asylum despite offers from “brave countries,” a new letter sent to human rights groups from the whistleblower says.

“I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy and accept many offers of support and asylum from brave countries around the world,” Snowden writes in the letter and posted by a Human Rights Watch staff member to Facebook.

“Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the U.S. Government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Snowden continues.

Previously, Snowden complained about the Obama administration using his passport “as a weapon,” stranding him in the international transit area of a Moscow airport.  Apparently, Snowden never bothered to actually read his passport (or his clearance paperwork either), where on Page 5 it makes clear that passports are the property of the US government, not the holder.  Passports are a government-to-government request for safe conduct for the holder, which can be revoked by the issuing government at any time.  Similarly, governments have the right to revoke that status when the holder is wanted for felonies committed before fleeing the country.  Article 14 is not the Get Out Of Jail Free card from Monopoly, and the US isn’t exactly, er … China.

Today, Snowden’s complaint is about the grounding of a flight on which Snowden didn’t fly, but Bolivian president Evo Morales did.  That has few people desiring to help Snowden out of his current predicament, which understandably makes him unhappy, but planes don’t have unfettered rights to fly through the airspace of other countries, either.  Morales may have cause for diplomatic complaint — and he probably does — but Snowden is only president of his own fan club, which doesn’t carry any diplomatic consideration.

Snowden is meeting with human-rights groups in the Moscow airport sometime today to put pressure on the US to back off and allow him to leave:

In the letter posted on the Facebook page of Human Rights Watch representative Tanya Lokshina, Snowden said the meeting was intended to discuss “the next steps forward in my situation”, but did not disclose any specific details.

Human rights groups Transparency International and Amnesty International also confirmed they had received emails inviting them to a meeting at the airport.

“Yes, I have received a brief email. It said that he would like to meet with a representative of a human rights organization – there was not much information there. I’m planning to go,” said Sergei Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International Russia.

Interestingly, Russia is sending its own envoy to the meeting:

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports the Russian government’s official ombudsman and human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin — who, incidentally, was also Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. during the early 1990s — said he was going to the meeting and that Snowden’s official immigration and travel status would be discussed.

Political analysts in Russia believe the airport meeting might be the Russian government’s way of trying to end the Snowden standoff, suggesting that if human rights campaigners emerge with a consensus that the former intelligence official does have a legitimate claim to asylum as a political refugee, that may provide Russia the geopolitical company (and the cover) it needs to defy the U.S. and put him on a plane to Latin America.

According to the email invite received by HRW’s Lokhshina, Snowden would give the officials attending the meeting at Sheremetyevo “a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward” in his travel predicament.

Having put himself in Russia, Snowden’s only route out of his predicament is through Russia.  It’s either that or find himself given the Evo Morales treatment.  In the end, I think Putin will risk the diplomatic headache and allow himself the fun of tweaking Barack Obama by offering Snowden either refuge or safe passage to an embassy of his choice in Moscow.  Obama doesn’t exactly put forward a menacing figure on the world stage to prevent it, after all.

Update: Is Biden better at pressuring world leaders into staying away from Snowden? We’ll see:

The United States is conducting a diplomatic full-court press to try to block Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor, from finding refuge in Latin America, where three left-leaning governments that make defying Washington a hallmark of their foreign policies have publicly vowed to take him in.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the unusual step of telephoning President Rafael Correa of Ecuador to urge him not to give asylum to Mr. Snowden. Senior State Department officials have also pushed Venezuela, one of the three countries offering to shelter him, with both sides keenly aware that hopes for better ties and an exchange of ambassadors after years of tension could be on the line.

And all across the region, American embassies have communicated Washington’s message that letting Mr. Snowden into Latin America, even if he shows up unexpectedly, would have lasting consequences.

If Biden scores a diplomatic victory, it’ll be one more than Hillary Clinton had during her entire tenure as Secretary of State.

Update: If the BBC has this right, it seems that Snowden has reached the same conclusion:

https://twitter.com/BBCBreaking/status/355683202641305601

The AP also picks up on a Russian report saying the same thing:

https://twitter.com/AP/status/355684628801134593

The WSJ believes the request is temporary in nature, and designed to get him to South America at some point:

https://twitter.com/WSJbreakingnews/status/355684542868226048


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“No Math, No Math”

-Obozo losing the title bout to Putin

WryTrvllr on July 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Must be hell living in the Moscow airport…

OmahaConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Snowden never bothered to actually read his passport (or his clearance paperwork either), where on Page 5 it makes clear that passports are the property of the US government, not the holder.

It seems lately that everything is the property of the US government..

Electrongod on July 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

O/T..
Via The Drudge…
Big Sis set to resign…soon.

Electrongod on July 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

We need a scorecard update.

kunegetikos on July 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Obama should — nay, MUST — give a speech.

SoRight on July 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Words can not express my sympathy for this…person.

Chris of Rights on July 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the unusual step of telephoning President Rafael Correa of Ecuador to urge him not to give asylum to Mr. Snowden.

Unfortunately, Biden went off on a tangent about forgetting to wear pants to a state dinner the other night and Correa hung up on him.

Bishop on July 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I read some people’s experiences at the Moscow airport. Sadly, it seems to be a nice place. I hope where ever Snowden is next isn’t nearly as pleasant.

thuja on July 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Back by popular demand:

Snowden wishcasting articles: 4,997

NSA investigative articles: 0

faraway on July 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM

We need a Zimmerman thread…

OmahaConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

It seems lately that everything is the property of the US government..

Electrongod on July 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Not lately. US Passports have ALWAYS been issued or withdrawn at the convenience our Government, and other country passports honored at the convenience of our Government.

<sarc>
Again, I hope that Mr. Snowden is boning up on his Spanish and stockpiling whatever the Russian equivalent of toilet paper is for his trip to that country of ultimate personal freedom, Venezuela — land of well stocked supermarkets….

I’m sure his skills at “whistleblowing” will open many jobs in that country, where people of his specialty are so badly needed…
</sarc>

unclesmrgol on July 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Box getting smaller Snowden? Good.

The Russians want Snowden out of their country. There is enough being said in back-channels determine he’s not worth it. Ultimately, what would they get out of granting him asylum? The answer is nothing. This type of propaganda is not worth the cost- and the Russians have already flaunted us for the mockery factor.

The minute Snowden moves he’ll be nabbed. Or maybe they’ll just let him slip away and at a later time catch him with a Hellfire. Which would be too bad…

Snowden is traitor. Period. He will go down in history as such. In fact the treason statute was specifically written for this very situation and we should abide by it and the harshest penalty.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

OT: Iowa Supremes rule that you can fire someone for being too attractive.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/iowa-top-court-firing-attractive-aide-legal

Chris of Rights on July 12, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Snowden is traitor.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

The grammar fits the mindset: broken.

MadisonConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

How many years did Chris “The Falcon” Boyce run? I don’t think Ed will make it that long, but it could be fitting for him to at least outlast the traitors in the Obama administration and this current Congress.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

“Unlawful”? Would that be something like taking material one doesn’t own…”

You are speaking, of course, of NSA’s actions. The data they stole was not created by them, paid for by them, intended for them.

The meta data was created by our ISPs and phone carriers for US, to fulfill contractual obligations with us.

So Snowden took it from them? Can you really steal from a thief? You can only steal things that are rightfully owned by someone else. The NSA didn’t own what Snowden took.

kurtzz3 on July 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Mr. Snowden…ummmm….fell out of an airplane…- Putin

workingclass artist on July 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

MadisonConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Let me know when you have something substantive and intellectually challenging to say.

Go read the statute, familiarize yourself with simple things like signing an SF-86, FD-258, NDA, etc. and then come back with a cogent argument as to why this is not treason.

Pedestrian, drive-by comments are not a substitute for reason and fact based conclusions. They are the product of emotional, contra-intellectual foolishness.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Must be hell living in the Moscow airport…

OmahaConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I’ll bet he smells pretty rank by now…

workingclass artist on July 12, 2013 at 11:01 AM

kurtzz3 on July 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Good points, but Ed is a convenient whipping boy for people too weak to hold accountable the vastly more dangerous traitors in Congress and the Obama administration.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Perhaps Barry should have a beer summit with Snowden.

Perhaps there has been no real action against the NSA because the NSA has the goods on too many (key) people. And with the amount of ethics floating around DC …..

TerryW on July 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

(time spent criticizing Snowden)/(time spent criticizing NSA) = 10?

EddieC on July 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

If Snowden can’t find asylum to the South, maybe he can go north, and he wouldn’t have to leave Russian territory. He could have a whole island to himself, in Novaya Zemlya, for which a beautiful variety of rhododendron is named.

One minor drawback–by October, Snowden will be snowed in.

Steve Z on July 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Would that be something like taking material one doesn’t own, breaking security agreements one made…

Oh, those things are unlawful? Tell that to the NSA, instead of the guy who called them on it.

thirtyandseven on July 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Go read the statute, familiarize yourself with simple things like signing an SF-86, FD-258, NDA, etc. and then come back with a cogent argument as to why this is not treason.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

ROFL an act doesn’t suddenly become treasonous because you signed some agreement. It either is or is not treason. You can’t contract to commit or not commit treason; that is absurd.

thirtyandseven on July 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Good ol’ Irish

Schadenfreude on July 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Schadenfreude on July 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Obama should send John Kerry to reassure our Irish allies that we aren’t stabbing them in the back, because if there’s one thing Kerry knows, it’s backstabbing.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM

thirtyandseven on July 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

That’s not not even an intellectually cogent abstraction to my point.

It’s your personal supposition which is not supported by the facts of what I’ve stated. It’s also ultimately absurd and not an argument I would make.

What Snowden has done is treason under the USC. Period. But it’s also buttressed and supported in an evidential way based on the documents he’s signed which in content also note the penalties for disclosure and the nature of this material. So he ultimately knew his disclosure contained material which was property of the United States (Snowden’s even acknowledge that himself in statements), damaging to her and conclusively gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

[...] and conclusively gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

Marcus Traianus on July 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Are you referring to the American People?

EddieC on July 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM

If the NSA isn’t doing anything wrong, then no worries.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

thirtyandseven on July 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Marcus didn’t get the memo that we are now a Nation of Men and that words are no longer worth the paper they are written on. So, appealing to the USC and any docs Ed signed is rather quaint.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 12:48 PM

That’s not not even an intellectually cogent abstraction to my point.

Actually it is. You quote statutes and oaths but lose sight of right vrs wrong. Sure Snowden broke the law.

Obama took an oath too. (somewhere in a back room with Roberts, I believe (the first time)) There are laws limiting his authority too.

As far as aiding the enemy, you can’t possibly know that.

Now, arming Al Qaeda on the other hand…

WryTrvllr on July 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Now, arming Al Qaeda on the other hand…

WryTrvllr on July 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

More specifically, AQ known to already have American blood on their hands.

Christien on July 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

That’s not not even an intellectually cogent abstraction to my point.

Actually it is. You quote statutes and oaths but lose sight of right vrs wrong. Sure Snowden broke the law.

Obama took an oath too. (somewhere in a back room with Roberts, I believe (the first time)) There are laws limiting his authority too.

As far as aiding the enemy, you can’t possibly know that.

Now, arming Al Qaeda on the other hand…

WryTrvllr on July 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

And who decides what is right vs what is wrong?? You?? So far the only evidence of wrong doing points solely to Snowden, there’s none whatsoever that NSA employees broke any law or engaged in any wrong doing, they are backed by the existing laws, courts and statuses, which is not something you can say of Snowden…as for arming Al Qaeda, puh-lease, we armed Bin Laden and other Latin -American douches in the not so distant past, actually that ‘s what pretty much the US foreign policy boils down to since times immemorial, war by proxy/arming the enemies of our enemies…am sure you were as outraged always as you are now…

jimver on July 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

“Unlawful“? Would that be something like taking material one doesn’t own, breaking security agreements one made, and publishing state secrets while fleeing to human-rights paradises like China and Russia?

Taking something one doesn’t own? That would be the N-Stasi-A taking my phone calls and emails and credit card statements along with those of most of the rest of the American population!

Breaking security agreements one made? How about breaking constitutional agreements, including so help me God oaths one made, which is what the N-Statsi-A and Obama and so many others in the Obama administration have done.

Publishing state secrets? Such as that Obama’s NSA has become like an anti-American Statsi/Gestapo making war on American’s rights??

Fleeing to China and Russia? Where the hell do you think he can flee to in order to escape Herr Hussein?

Can you even see America at all?

VorDaj on July 12, 2013 at 4:32 PM

The N-Stasi-A is an anti-American abomination. Anyone who can not see that doesn’t deserve to be called an American. The Founding fathers would never consider such a person to be a real American.

VorDaj on July 12, 2013 at 4:34 PM

jimver on July 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

No we’ll just leave the right vrs wrong thing to Obozo and his media minions. That’s been working so well thus far.

As far as arming our enemies, that’s been working out real well lately.

And Snowden didn’t:

-Cancel the F-22 and F-35 (which the Chinese and Russians seem determined to produce versions of).
-Pull Missile defense out of Poland and the Czech Republic
-Announce intentions to try to cut our nuclear arsenal substantially while Putin is building intermediate range missiles in clear violoation of preexisting treaty.
-have his DHS head declare anyone who believes in personal liberty or is Catholic to be a potential terrorist.
-Put us in another 7 trillion of debt in 5 years while we are about to lose our “currency of reserve” status.

So how, exactly, did Snowden hurt America? You think the russians and chinese didn’t know the NSA was watching?

puh-lease.

WryTrvllr on July 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM

We need a Zimmerman thread…

OmahaConservative on July 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Snowden and Zimmerman are in a very large sense quite similar. Both are enemies of the Obama State that the Obama State has/is going after personally. In a very large sense those who hate Snowden are of similar mentality to those who hate Zimmerman. Even if they won’t admit it, even to themselves, it’s still true.

VorDaj on July 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Snowden may be toast and all these stories relate to the manner of his unravelling.

Reading fine print on his passport is hardly the issue, is it?

Is anyone denying what Snowden is saying? Is what he is saying of no concern?

If it’s a pack of lies, tell us why. If not, why are you worried about his personal fate? The issues are bigger than him.

A State does have a right to enforce secrets that relate to it’s security, but what he is revealing is that the US (and other countries) have extended that to warrantless search of all persons. Who here believes in the unlimited power of the state to warrantless search?

Please stop focusing on the infractions of Snowden and answer the real question.

virgo on July 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM