Snowden starts charm offensive in Brazil amid possible bid for asylum
December 24, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
BRAZIL--Intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and faces U.S. espionage charges, lauded Brazil's vibrant democracy on Sunday.
The rogue U.S. intelligence analyst unsuccessfully sought asylum in Brazil, as well as in other countries, in July before he was granted temporary refuge in Russia.
But his busy charm offensive with the Brazilian government and people this week may mean he is hoping for a fresh look from President Dilma Rousseff's government — perhaps for asylum or a humanitarian visa.
In an interview Sunday with Globo television, Snowden said by email and through an attorney that he could not imagine swapping intelligence for favors. He also said he did not think that would be of interest to Brasilia.
He called Brazil “one of the most interesting and vibrant democracies in the world.”
Just Tuesday, the prestige daily Folha de Sao Paulo ran “an open letter to the Brazilian people” by Snowden in which he said he stood ready to help the Brazilian Senate's investigation of U.S. eavesdropping on Brazilian targets.
In August, Snowden was granted one-year asylum status by Russia and is living in an undisclosed location. Recently his Russian lawyer said he had started working for a major website to earn some money after running out of cash.
His leaks showed that the United States had spied on state leaders, including Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, causing a diplomatic scandal.
Additionally, Brazilian media reported Sunday that Rousseff has said Snowden never made a formal request for asylum here.