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By Maria Lopez Conde, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former United States National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden would accept permanent asylum in Brazil if the government offered it to him, but would not provide officials with more information regarding the U.S.-run espionage program on Brazilian targets in exchange for safe haven.

Edward Snowden Would Accept Asylum in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia, photo by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The new revelations from Snowden, the man who set off a worldwide diplomatic row over American surveillance and alleged spying on its allies and partners, were broadcast on Globo television’s “Fantástico” show last Sunday (December 22nd).

Although the Brazilian government has not extended an asylum offer to Snowden, the contractor said he would accept one if it were to come his way.

“Of course! If the Brazilian government wanted to defend human rights, it would be an honor for me to be a part of this. Brazil is a beautiful country and I am thankful for having so many new friends and allies over there,” Snowden said in his first interview with a Brazilian outlet, according to O Globo.

“I will never exchange information for asylum, and I also do not believe the Brazilian government would do that,” he added.

This interview comes just five days after Folha de São Paulo newspaper published a letter in which the former NSA subcontractor offered to assist Brazil in uncovering potential U.S. espionage crimes against Brazilians in exchange for asylum.

“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,” Snowden wrote in “An Open Letter to the Brazilian People,” which was also published on the blog of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s boyfriend.

“Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” read the letter. At the time, government sources affirmed that Brazil was not considering granting Snowden asylum. Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Snowden needed to make an official request in order for the government to consider granting him asylum.

Edward Snowden Would Accept Asylum in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
President Rousseff deemed the U.S. spying program a “breach of international law” in her opening address at the U.N. back in September, photo by Robert Stuckert Filho/ABr.

“No one has sent me anything, no one has asked me for anything, and moreover, I do not interpret letters from anybody. I do not think that the Brazilian government has to make a statement about an individual who did not make things clear, did not send anything to us,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Thursday, December 19th, two days after the letter was published online and on Folha de São Paulo.

According to Snowden, his letter was not meant as a formal request for asylum in Brazil. “I will never cooperate with anyone outside the legal system. The objective of the message was to explain why these matters are important,” Snowden told “Fantástico.”

Brazil went to great lengths to publicly denounce the American-run espionage program revealed by Snowden in June. Snowden, a computer specialist who had worked for the National Security Agency, leaked a series of documents and information that showed the United States had collected a high volume of data on the telecommunications of Brazilian citizens.

Information leaked by Snowden through the help of Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald alleged that the United States had spied on President Rousseff and her inner circle of advisors, as well as on Brazil’s state-controlled Petrobras.

In response to the accusations, President Rousseff canceled a state visit to the United States scheduled for October and also publicly denounced the U.S.-run program during her opening address at the United Nations in September, blasting the American spying as a “breach on international law.”

In her speech, President Rousseff proposed legislation that would protect the online data of Brazilian citizens, circumventing U.S.-based servers. Discussion on the proposed law was slated for last September, but deferred until February, when Congress returns from holiday recess.

Meanwhile, Snowden was been granted temporary asylum in Russia in July, where has been in that country since June following an international media storm tracking his movements.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Snowden is a traitor and should be treated as such. Brazil is home to many ex-pat American citizens who are ex- or retired military who still take their vows to defend the Constitution very seriously.

    Brazil, please don’t offer asylum to this criminal!

  2. Snowden took his vow to protect the US Constitution very seriously – which is the very reason he disclosed the fact that the NSA has violated it, as Judge Leon found only weeks ago. One who exposes wrongdoing by their government should be protected. As the daughter of military parents, I don’t expect open-minded, nuanced thinking by retired military personnel – the brainwashing is total and permanent from what I have witnessed. The young ones, like Snowden, still have the ability to think for themselves, thank God.

  3. […] Now I’m in Brazil, where I’ve spent the last few weeks, and wouldn’t you know it? A question very much in the air here is whether Brazil would grant Snowden asylum once his temporary stay in Russia comes to an end. In recent weeks, Snowden had twice expressed publicly his desire to gain asylum to Brazil, once in an open letter published in a newspaper in São Paulo — in which he said he would cooperate with Brazilian authorities investigating the N.S.A. once he was safely inside the country — and then, somewhat more cautiously, in a television interview. […]

  4. If Snowden took his oath so seriously, he would have followed proper procedure and not run first to Hong Kong and then to Russia to disclose his leaks. He would have stood his principles and made his disclosures in the American press. Fox News would have loved to have had him on air as it would make the administration look bad.

    Nope. He\’s nothing more than a sellout that is now finding out that people don’t like those that have sworn to defend a country with their blood and then turned their back on said country when they saw dollar signs. And now even that is backfiring on him.

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