Intellingence leaker Snowden is mad with Obama

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has accused President Barack Obama of denying him his right to asylum, in a statement published by Wikileaks.

It is his first public announcement since flying to Russia on 23 June, where he has applied for asylum.

The former CIA analyst, who is holed up in a Moscow airport hotel, is wanted by the US on charges of espionage.

He says President Obama is putting pressure on the countries from which he has requested political asylum.

"The president ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions," he is quoted by Wikileaks as saying.

"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."

In the statement, Mr Snowden describes himself as "a stateless person", accusing the US government of stopping him from exercising the "basic right…to seek asylum".

On Sunday night, the 30-year-old fugitive applied for asylum in Russia, according to foreign ministry consul Kim Shevchenko.

The request was reportedly submitted by Sarah Harrison, a British member of the Wikileaks legal team acting as Mr Snowden’s representative.

However, the Kremlin has so far made no comment.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow "never hands over anybody anywhere and has no intention of doing so".

He suggested Mr Snowden could stay on the condition he stops damaging Russia’s "American partners" with his leaks.

The leaking of thousands of classified intelligence documents has led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.

‘High-level discussions’

Mr Snowden is thought to be seeking asylum in Latin America, particularly in Ecuador whose embassy in London is sheltering Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday that his country would process Mr Snowden’s asylum request if he manages to enter an Ecuadorean embassy.

However, if he can complete his asylum request on Russian territory , then "the situation can be processed and resolved there," President Correa adds.

Details have also emerged of a letter from Mr Snowden to President Correa, thanking Ecuador for guaranteeing "my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong – I could never have risked travel without that".

He tells President Correa of his "great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding".

Speaking in Tanzania on Monday, President Barack Obama said Moscow and Washington had held "high level discussions" about Mr Snowden.

"We don’t have an extradition treaty with Russia," he said. "On the other hand, Mr Snowden, we understand, has travelled there without a valid passport and legal papers."

Mr Snowden has reportedly been in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving there from Hong Kong on 23 June.

While it remains unclear in which other countries he has applied for asylum, the LA Times recently quoted a Russian foreign ministry official as saying Mr Snowden had applied to some 15 countries.
Credit: BBC

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