Brazil will not grant Snowden asylum: report
Brazil has no plans to grant asylum to Edward Snowden even after the former US National Security Agency contractor offered on Tuesday to help investigate revelations of spying on Brazilians and their president, a local newspaper reported.
Citing unnamed government officials, Folha de S. Paulo reported that the Brazilian government has no interest in investigating the mass Internet surveillance programs Snowden revealed in June and does not intend to give him asylum.
In an Open Letter to the Brazilian People published by Folha and social media, Snowden offered to help a congressional probe into NSA spying on the country, including the personal communications of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
“I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so,” the letter said.
Snowden is living in Russia under temporary asylum that is due to expire in August. He had previously asked for asylum in Brazil, among other countries, but Brasilia did not answer his request.
While Snowden stopped short of asking for asylum again in the letter, he suggested that any collaboration with Brazilian authorities would depend upon them granting him asylum.
“Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” Snowden said.
The revelations of NSA spying damaged relations between the US and Latin America’s largest country and prompted Rousseff to cancel a state visit to Washington in October. The spying also led Rousseff to become a global advocate for curbs on Internet surveillance.
Evidence that the NSA monitored Rousseff’s e-mail and cellphone, along with hacking the network of staterun oil company Petrobras, angered Brazilians and led the Senate to investigate the extent of US spying.
In conjunction with the publication of the letter, Snowden’s supporters have organized an online drive to gather signatures to pressure Rousseff into giving him asylum.
However, a Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman said Brazil has never received a formal application for asylum from Snowden and thus had nothing to consider.