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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentprivacyinternetlegalwikileaksJulian AssangetelecommunicationCriminalU.S. National Security AgencyJohn KerryEdward SnowdenKristinn HrafnssonCenter for Constitutional RightsRicardo Patiño ArocaMichael Ratner

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

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?