Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden released a letter to the people of Brazil on Tuesday, noting that he has been inspired by the global debate of NSA documents and is excited that “indiscriminate worldwide surveillance” is ending.
The letter was originally published in Folha Sao Paulo Today and later obtained by the Associated Press.
In the letter, Snowden applauded the Brazilian government for its stance against U.S. espionage. He also volunteered to aid the government in investigating NSA spying within the country, so long as he could be granted asylum.
“Until a country grants permanent political asylum,” Snowden wrote, “the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.”
Among the many documents Snowden delivered to journalist Glenn Greenwald, it was revealed that Brazil is the top Latin America target for NSA spying. Examples include the monitoring of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s cellphone and hacking the internal network of state-run oil company Petrobras.
Rousseff was so outraged by what Snowden called “data collection,” not surveillance, that she canceled a diplomatic dinner in Washington. Since then, Rousseff has pushed the United Nations to give citizens greater protection against spying.
“These programs were never about terrorism,” Snowden wrote. “They’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power."
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry and the presidential office have yet to comment on Snowden’s letter or any potential request of asylum.