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Edward Snowden Seeks Asylum in Russia
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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden requested asylum in Russia. This is the second time that Snowden submitted a request. His first attempt had been blocked, as Putin commented that Snowden’s request would only be granted if the leaker would agree not to leak more information. At that time, the Kremlin noted that Edward Snowden withdrew his bid.

30 year old Edward Snowden was a technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. He leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. While he was employed as an “infrastructure analyst” at the NSA he revealed programs such as the US and British surveillance programs PRISM and Tempora.

  
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Government officials have considered this to be a breach of national security. Different media groups have created debates and raised discourse over the lack of transparency in the government, as well as mass surveillance and infringement of “privacy.” Edward Snowden has been charged with theft of government property, and unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to unauthorized persons. The last two allegations fall under the Espionage Act.

Snowden is quoted as having said, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things [surveillance on its citizens] and I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded,” according to FindLaw.com. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, described the disclosure of PRISM as “reckless.”

Members of the Congress responded to Snowden’s disclosure negatively. Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bill Nelson agreed that Snowden was a traitor. They called for his arrest and prosecution.

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A Gallup poll conducted on June 10-11 showed that 44 percent of Americans thought it was right for Snowden to share the information with the press, while 42 percent thought it was wrong. A USA Today poll found that 49 percent of people felt that the information served the public interest while 44 percent thought it harmed it. Finally, 54 percent of people thought a criminal case should be brought against Snowden, while 38 percent felt it shouldn’t be brought.

Several members of the media praised Snowden. Glenn Greenwald called Snowden a hero for exposing US Government eavesdropping. New Yorker columnist Amy Davidson claimed to be “thankful for the overdue” conversation on the limits of domestic surveillance. Political commentators and public figures such as Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Michael Moore, Cornel West, Glenn Beck, Matt Drudge, Alex Jones, Andrew Napolitano, Oliver Stone, Michael Savage, and Stephen Walt praised Snowden for exposing secret government surveillance.





 

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