Snowden wants to trade secrets for asylum

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has offered to help Brazil investigate U.S. spying in exchange for permanent political asylum.

Brazil’s Folha newspaper published the offer letter from Snowden Tuesday in Portuguese, but it can be read in English on the Facebook page of David Miranda – the partner of former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.

“Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world,” Snowden said in the letter. “When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more. They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.”

“I’ve expressed my willingness to assist where it’s appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the U.S. government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,” Snowden said.

Snowden did not blatantly ask for asylum, but suggested his assistance would not be possible, “Until a country grants me permanent political asylum.”

The letter comes one day after a U.S. District Court judge ruled the NSA programs used to collect domestic and overseas bulk telephone data – programs that Edward Snowden leaked – are likely unconstitutional.

“Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many,” the former NSA contractor said in a statement following the ruling, according to USA Today.

“My act of conscience began with a statement,” Snowden said in the letter to Brazil. “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.”

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