“The saddest thing of this whole story is that the only place an American whistle-blower has the chance to be heard is not in Europe but here in Russia,” Edward Snowden said in an interview with France Inter radio broadcasted on Monday.
Snowden’s interview was conducted on Saturday. In it, he reflects that it is “sad” that in Europe only Russia would grand an American whistleblower asylum. The fugitive first left for Hong Kong where he elicited WikiLeaks assistance to find refuge in Moscow.
The former US intelligence contractor has been in Russia since leaking a trove of classified documents showing the scope of post-9/11 US surveillance. The trove was accompanied by a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation on how the NSA carried out mass surveillance on American citizens.
Washington is accusing Snowden of endangering thousands of US agents while unveiling PRISM, that is, an electronic surveillance system used by the NSA and the CIA that Snowden helped develop. The US Justice Department under President Barack Obama revoked his passport and charged him with violating the Espionage Act. President Donald Trump has said that he would favour Snowden’s execution.
Snowden’s first application for asylum in France was rejected in 2013, under President Francois Hollande. He hopes that President Emmanuel Macron may review his case.
Snowden is due to publish his memoirs on Tuesday.