Snowden’s possible political asylum
Until last May, the whistleblower had worked for Booz Allen Hamilton – the society that provides consulting services to the CIA and the National Security Agency. They are also known for developing Prism, the mass surveillance program responsible for the monitoring of online information.
Snowden abandoned his comfortable life in Hawaii and a lavish wage to find refuge from the American government. He first fled to Hong Kong, a place that, according to him, «still keeps a tradition of freedom», and then into Russia.
He claims he acted upon idealism, transparency, and to get away from uncontrolled surveillance methods that he considers detrimental to the right of privacy. He’s waiting for the pass that would let him leave his current location at the Moscow airport. He has also requested temporary asylum in Russia, where he could stay for one year.
Only a few days ago, the news that the asylum request might have been accepted had seeped. Snowden’s lawyers have since confuted that their client had obtained the authorization to leave the transit area. Nevertheless, they have confirmed that Russia stays the final destination of their defendant, at least as of now.
Snowden’s request, however, remains under consideration of the Russian authorities which, allegedly, are seriously evaluating granting it. They have declared that the application could be received as long as the informer does not harm the US anymore.
This hypothesis has, predictably, stirred hard reactions from the United States, which has formally requested the repatriation of the Datagate’s responsible. The spokesperson of the White House, Jay Carney, has said that America doesn’t want this event to harm their relationship with Russia, but has also added that « there is absolute legal justification for him to be expelled, for him to be returned to the United States to face the charges that have been brought against him for the unauthorized leaking of classified information». For the Obama administration, Snowden is not either an “activist” or a “dissident”, but an individual charged of crimes who should be repatriated.
The US Department of Justice has assured that the man doesn’t risk the death penalty and that, if transferred again to his home country, he’ll be granted all the fundamental rights.
Even though there isn’t any extradition treaty with Russia, the “conversations” with the Kremlin keep going but, as of today, it still seems that Snowden can get the documents at any time. Soon it’ll be clear who’ll have the last word in the umpteenth test of strength between the two rival powers.