NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who made headlines last week after revealing information to the public about US intelligence operations, including PRISM, may be offered asylum in Russia.
Revealing himself as a NSA contractor, Edward Snowden stepped forward late last week to claim responsibility for a series of public US intelligence leaks, including details about top secret government programs like PRISM that monitor and analyze citizens’ personal data and communications.
Having become disillusioned with the current administration’s willingness to continue and expand Bush-era programs, Snowden says he felt a responsibility to give up his comfortable life working for the NSA to expose what he sees as wrongdoings.
Though reported to be holed up in a Hong Kong hotel, Snowden has begun to feel pressured to leave, concerned about extradition to the US.
Perhaps unsure of where to go, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a suggestion Tuesday: Come to Russia.
One politician from Russia, Alexei Pushkov, had this to say about Putin’s idea:
“Promising Snowden asylum, Moscow takes upon itself the defense of people persecuted for political reasons … There will be hysteria in the United States. They recognize this as their right alone.”
Other leaders have come forward and expressed similar support for granting Snowden asylum in Russia.
Russia has an history of supporting foreign whistleblowers, having thrown their support behind Julian Assange, who gained international notoriety several years ago with his government leaks website, WikiLeaks.
Critics are quick to point out that Russia has established a poor track record when it comes to human rights abuses within their own country.
Whistleblowers who have exposed government corruption, in Russia, have themselves faced persecution from their government; one man who exposed a large corruption scheme was imprisoned and died in jail under mysterious circumstances.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden may not desire Russia’s asylum, however, as he has stated previously that his “predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values.”