Snowden, in new statement, accuses Obama of using ‘old, bad tools of political aggression’

July 1, 2013

Edward Snowden (Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras/The Guardian)

Edward Snowden, in his first public message since arriving at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport eight days ago, has issued a statement accusing President Obama of deploying "the old, bad tools of political aggression" and "using citizenship as a weapon" in order to silence him. It describes the Obama administration as "afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be."

The message also accuses Vice President Biden of pressuring foreign leaders to deny Snowden's asylum requests.

Here is Snowden's statement in full, as it appears on the Wikileaks Web site:

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat from my government for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person.

Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

The official Twitter feed of Wikileaks announced the statement in advance, another sign of the group's efforts to assist Snowden in finding a country that might shelter him. Sarah Harrison, a researcher with WikiLeaks, reportedly traveled with Snowden on his flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. News agencies in Russia reported Monday that she had filed an asylum request with Russian officials on behalf of Snowden.

Snowden has been in limbo since arriving at the transit area of Moscow's airport. Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a news conference earlier on Monday, suggested that Snowden could stay in Russia as long as he stopped releasing information damaging to the United States. "There is one condition," Putin said. "He has to stop his work undermining our U.S. partners, as odd as it may sound coming from me."

Snowden reportedly sent a letter to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador thanking him for examining his request for asylum there, according to Reuters.

More from WorldViews on Edward Snowden:

Some see Julian Assange's hand in Snowden statement

Here’s what happens when asylum-seekers get stuck in airport limbo

Snowden's Russia problem: Why a libertarian activist made friends with authoritarian states

How Bradley Manning could help Snowden win asylum

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Max Fisher | July 1, 2013