The Corner

Marooned in Moscow, Snowden Running Out of Options

Professed intelligence-leaker Edward Snowden, who remains in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, faces a decreasing range of options as he attempts to evade U.S. authorities. In a press conference at today’s Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded that Snowden stop publishing American secrets, saying, “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.” Putin reaffirmed his refusal to extradite Snowden to America, but he also encouraged the fugitive ex-National Security Agency contractor to leave Russia: “If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that.” The Russian president declined to say whether one of the other conference participants (which included the leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Iran) might grant him asylum.

However, Russia is not the only antagonist of the U.S. that appears to be souring on Snowden. On Friday, the Guardian reported that Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has rescinded the temporary safe conduct accorded to Snowden by Ecuador’s London embassy. Correa is apparently upset by the perception that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is “running the show” and using the NSA leaker’s case to publicize his own. (Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy since last June, after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual assault charges.) The Ecuadorian president stated that the diplomat who issued Snowden’s safe conduct pass had been punished, but he did not specify how; according to the Guardian, Assange helped obtain the document, which bore the typed name but not the signature of Consul Fidel Narvaez. Correa also said that his country would not even consider a request for asylum unless Snowden were to somehow reach Ecuadorian territory.

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