Ex-CIA Employee Discloses US Secret Surveillance Programs
Nicaraguan media published on Sunday a letter by ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden requesting asylum in the Central American country as the fugitive intelligence expert rejects the possibility of a ‘fair trial’ in the United States where he may face ‘life in prison or even death.’
A copy of the letter was posted on the website of Nicaraguan Radio Ya. The letter is dated June 30 and was written in Moscow and addressed to “representatives of the Republic of Nicaragua.”
“I, Edward Snowden, citizen of the United States of America, request asylum in the Republic of Nicaragua because of the risk of being persecuted by the government of the United States and its agents in relation to my decision to make public serious violations on the part of the government of the United States of its Constitution, specifically of its Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and of various treaties of the United Nations that are binding on my country,” the letter reads.
“I believe that, given these circumstances, it is unlikely that I would receive a fair trial or proper treatment prior to that trial, and face the possibility of life in prison or even death.”
Some of the charges brought against Snowden by the US Justice Department are connected to espionage and may entail life in prison, the ex-CIS employee said in his letter.
An international precedent for providing asylum to figures in similar circumstances has been established by Ecuador granting asylum to anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Snowden said in his letter, comparing his case to that of American soldier Bradley Manning “who made public government information through WikiLeaks revealing war crimes.”
Manning, who was arrested in May 2010, pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 criminal counts related to the biggest security breach in US history, leaking hundreds of thousands of classified war logs about US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks. He faces from 20 years in prison to life imprisonment.
Snowden, who is wanted by the US for leaking details of secret state surveillance programs, has submitted more than 20 requests for asylum. Most have been rejected, or countries have told the former National Security Agency contractor that he must be present on their soil to submit such an application.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Saturday that Caracas would be willing to grant Snowden asylum. “In the name of America’s dignity … I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Maduro said during a military parade marking Venezuela’s independence day, Reuters reported.
On Friday Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country would “receive Snowden with pleasure,” according to Sky News.
Also on Saturday, Bolivia became the third country to say that it would be prepared to offer political asylum to the fugitive intelligence expert, according to media reports.
Snowden arrived in Russia on a flight to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. The United States has revoked Snowden’s passport, and he is now believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Russia was one of the countries to which Snowden submitted an asylum application, but he withdrew his request after President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Snowden would only be able to stay if he “stopped his work aimed at harming our US partners.”