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Russia Says It Hasn’t Receive Snowden Asylum Request

Photo by Tanya Lokshina

Edward Snowden pictured at a news conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Friday in an image provided by Human Rights Watch.

Immigration officials in Russia say they've not received any application from Edward Snowden, the man accused of leaking top-secret NSA documents, a day after he told the media in Moscow that his plan was to seek temporary asylum.

Interfax news agency quotes Russian migration service head Konstantin Romodanovsky as saying no asylum request had been received as yet.

On Friday, the former CIA contractor appeared at a news conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport alongside representatives from Russian and other international human rights organizations. Snowden said he hoped to go to Latin America after applying for temporary asylum in Russia. He is thought to be considering Bolivia, Nicaragua or Venezuela as possible final destinations.

Meanwhile, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the U.S. State Department expressed disappointment that Russia had given Snowden what it described as a "propaganda platform" to espouse his views.

Snowden is believed to have spent the past couple of weeks stuck in a transit area at a Moscow airport. In the past several weeks, The Guardian newspaper has published a series of exposes of U.S. electronic surveillance efforts using Snowden as its source.

American officials say his revelations have hurt national security, but Snowden's supporters say he has exposed violations of civil liberties.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Friday that Washington was not pleased at Snowden's Friday news conference.

"We are disappointed that Russian officials facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport transit zone," she said.

Psaki repeated Washington's position that it doesn't see Snowden as a whistleblower but as someone who faces felony charges in the United States.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 13, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

What my fellow countrymen and women must understand is America is still at war. There are terrorist groups looking for ways to attack us and kill civilians, military, and government persons. This is why the NSA was 'permitted' to gather information in the form that raises concern about our government reaching into our private lives.

We have an oversight committee that reviewed their plan and passed this on to government legal advisers. All agreed in a time of war the gathering of information was necessary to curb terrorism. Even the FBI director stated had they used this form of intelligence gathering they could have prevented the devastation in New York on 9/11.

This isn't to say the government was listening to all of us. They don't have the ability to listen to every person (all 300-plus million of us) at any given time. What Snowden has done is tip off terrorist groups on how to avoid detection. They know have learned how we (our government) has been tracking them, and can take certain steps to keep from being caught.

If Snowden truly believed what he was doing is right, he would have remained in the U.S. to face the music, surrounded himself with a legal team, and fought his case in a highly public trial. You can bet the Russians, and Latin Americans are siphoning off information Snowden has for their own benefit, and he knows it, too. Why else do you suppose he's permitted to remain in Russia.

When Snowden agreed to work for NSA he signed contracts that he would not divulge any work done. If he believed what he was doing was wrong he could have presented his case to his superiors and let them address the issue. Had he been fired for this he then could have made his case open to the public and not be off galavanting around the world looking for sympathy.

He's dreaming if he believes he will be seen as a whistleblower. Under the eyes of the law and many Americans, Snowden is a traitor.

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