WikiLeaks slams US for pursuing Snowden

WikiLeaks has assisted NSA leaker in his request for political asylum in Ecuador

U.S. officials should be condemned for "bullying" other nations in their attempts to get them to turn over Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, who leaked classified information on massive surveillance programs there, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Monday.

Officials with WikiLeaks, assisting Snowden in his request for political asylum in Ecuador, Iceland and other countries, said Snowden has a right under the United Nations' Refugee Convention to seek asylum and the U.N. agreement supersedes espionage charges Snowden faces in the U.S.

The refugee pact protects people "who are being persecuted for political opinion," said Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and an attorney for WikiLeaks. Whistleblowers exposing government corruption are included in those protections, said Ratner, who helped with Assange's application for asylum in Ecuador.

"It is counterproductive and unacceptable for the Obama administration to try and interfere with those rights," Assange said during a press briefing Monday. "It reflects poorly on the U.S. administration, and no self-respecting country would submit to such interference or such bullying by the U.S. in this matter."

Snowden is safe, healthy and in good spirits, Assange said. He declined to give Snowden's location. Snowden had been in Russia, en route to Ecuador, but has gone into hiding in a possible attempt to discourage the U.S. from seeking extradition.

Ecuador is considering Snowden's asylum request, Ricardo Patiño Aroca, Ecuador's minister of foreign affairs, trade and integration, said Monday. WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said Snowden has also applied for asylum in Iceland and other countries, but he declined to name the other countries.

Assange and Ratner slammed the Obama administration for pursuing charges against Snowden. Secretary of State John Kerry's description of Snowden as a traitor is inaccurate and contrary to U.S. law, Assange said.

"The Obama administration was not given a mandate by the people of the United States to hack and spy upon the entire world, to breach the U.S. Constitution and the laws of other nations in the manner that it has," Assange said. The U.S. attempts to extradite Snowden "further demonstrates the breakdown in the rule of law by the Obama administration."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags telecommunicationMichael RatnerCenter for Constitutional RightsU.S. National Security AgencywikileaksJohn KerryinternetprivacyCriminalJulian AssangeRicardo Patiño ArocaEdward SnowdenKristinn Hrafnssonsecuritylegalgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?