MOSCOW: Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has said that he remains free to publish more information about the US government’s spying programs.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” the 30-year-old Snowden made the remarks in a letter to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a foreign news agency reported.
The NSA leaker also thanked Ecuador for the risk of standing for the human rights of an individual against the United States.
“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank,” according to the letter.
Snowden, who is reportedly staying in a transit area of an airport in Russia, criticized Washington for illegally pursuing him for an act he said was in the public interest.
“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression,” he wrote.
Snowden has revealed to the news media details of secret surveillance programs under which the US spy agencies collect massive amounts of data on people’s communications via telephone and the Internet.
The US has charged Snowden with espionage and called on Russia to extradite him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Moscow “never hands over anybody anywhere and has no intention to do so.”
“If he wants to remain here there is one condition – he should stop his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners no matter how strange this may sound coming from me,” he said.
Meanwhile, a petition demanding the Obama administration pardon Snowden has mustered over 120,000 digital signatures, way above the threshold where the White House should issue a response.
Here is the full statement from Snowden released by Wikileaks:
One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat 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 US 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.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013