A week after leaving Hong Kong, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower on the surveillance practices of the NSA, has broken his silence. The statement, published on Wikileaks, accuses the Obama administration of using his citizenship as a weapon, revoking his passport though he has not been formally convicted of anything.
The letter begins by thanking those who have helped him, many of whom he never expects to meet. Snowden then turns to President Obama’s numerous statements to the effect that the administration will not go to extreme lengths to seek out and punish Snowden. Obama has stated there will be no” wheeling and dealing” over Snowden’s diplomatic status and even downplaying, “I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.” However, Obama’s overtures to crucify Snowden,
like the rest of the scandal, are a poorly kept secret.
According to the letter, Obama has ordered Vice President Joe Biden to “pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.” Snowden argues “These are the old, bad tools of political aggression.”
In his penultimate point, Snowden argues that all must be granted the right to seek asylum according to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He decries the U.S. administration, with a track record of protecting this right, of suddenly revoking its commitment.
The letter concludes with a statement to the public. “The Obama administration,” he charges, “is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.”
On that ominous note, Snowden signs his statement; “I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.”