Reportedly hiding out in Russia and running out of options for finding political asylum abroad, Edward Snowden published an open letter on Monday evening on the WikiLeaks website excoriating the Obama administration for rescinding his American passport and practicing what he considers to be a treacherous form of “deception.” Here’s the full statement (via The Right Scoop):
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 has 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.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013
Upon reading this, it seems as if Snowden actually expected he’d eventually be left alone -- despite the fact he stole classified information from the United States government and then leaked some of it to a major international newspaper. At the same time, the recently uncovered missive he sent to Ecuador’s president thanking him for considering his asylum appeal (and informing him he has more potentially explosive leaks at his disposal) only seems to confirm this suspicion. Here’s an excerpt of what he said in that letter, according to Reuters:
"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.
Serious question: What did he honestly think was going to happen? That the United States government would let him roam the world freely with impunity after what he did? I certainly hope not -- but his writings seem to suggest that in many ways he does see himself as a victim.
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