SNOWDEN’S DILEMNA: HIS DESPERATE PLEA FOR ASYLUM IN BRAZIL DENIED. HE MAY SOON BE A STATELESS PERSON AGAIN. HIS HOBSON’S CHOICE.

EXILE OR REPATRIATION?

Barton-Washington Post

Barton-Washington Post

 

Edward Snowden’s offer to help Brazil beef up its security after the disclosure that NSA was monitoring the metadata and maybe more  of President Dilma Rousseff’s  cell phone calls and the cell phone calls of  every other person in Brazil and their internet activity including Petrobras, Brazil’s state owned oil company was promptly rejected by Brazil. It alleged it never received a formal request.

 

Snowden’s temporary refugee visa in Russia is scheduled to expire in mid April 2014.

What will happen now is anyone’s guess. However Russia has no interest in allowing Snowden to stay  if they want to improve relations with the United States so they may deny him an extension. Russia is a mercurial host especially so after the Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot and  the Greenpeace episodes.

Brazil denied his offer of assistance in exchange for permanent asylum. It has more to gain by normal relations with the United States than what Snowden has to offer.

IS HIS ACE THE HOLE HIS KNOWLEDGE OF NSA OR THE REMAINGING DATA HE MAY HAVE OR BOTH?

The NSA alleges Snowden left with 1.7 million downloaded documents and the NSA does not know which materials he took. He released documents to a Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald among others, who has since left the Guardian and announced he would be launching a new media enterprise to have bureaus in New York, Washington and San Francisco.  Ostensibly Greenwald will be headquartered in Brazil since it is unlikely he will venture on U.S. soil.

David Gellman of the Washington Post recently interviewed Snowden in Moscow. He alleges that Snowden says his mission is accomplished and he will not release any further documents. Gellman was one of the three reporters to receive the original cache of documents from Snowden.

If Greenwald is so close to Snowden why didn’t he do the  interview Gellman did? Gellman also inferred in a recent  PBS interview Snowden  already gave his cache to the reporters to redact and publish  as they saw fit. Much of it unpublished at this point.

How big a remaining  cache of documents Snowden  has is unknown as well as their whereabouts. So there may be more  than he gave the  reporters.  While Grenwald’s “Media Company” is to be general in scope, covering news entertainment and sports, it appears it was created because of his relationship with Snowden. Who his financial backer is undisclosed but rumors are it is Pierre Omidyar, the E-Bay billionaire. Given Snowden’s statements in the Washington Post this all sounds like a pipe dream if his plans are based on some alleged connection to Snowden who says he is through releasing data. It would seem that they have already  released the juiciest tidbits of the data Snowden gave them and what he has now is his ace in the hole for bargaining with the Justice Department

THE BRASIL OFFER WAS DESPARATE MOVE.

Snowden may again become a stateless person living in an airport in April or some  third World embassy . It would seem that his offer to Brazil was a desperate move. It is a step beyond leaking documents to the main stream press to offering a foreign government assistance in protecting itself from U.S.  surveillance. This may well be viewed as another act of treason by the U.S. Government.

Snowden‘s dilemma is that he probably will not be able to get reachable asylum in any country that wishes to maintain normal relations with the US. This fact probably rules out all countries with advanced economies.

Russia has already seen its relations with the U.S. decline when President Obama cancelled his trip to Russia to confer with President Putin. The U.S. and Russia need to talk about solutions to the Syrian and Iran situation as well as other Global matters.

The United States is not likely to offer Snowden immunity from prosecution in exchange for whatever documents he still has. This would be encouragement to other would be leakers. However he may have an ace in the hole.

Also it is unknown what part of his cache was obtained by China or Russia.  The United States has a strong trading relationship with China and it seems to want no part of him despite what his value may be to their intelligence service.   What interest Russia has in an extension of his refugee visa is unknown unless Snowden is feeding them information. Maybe about the inner workings of the NSA instead of data.

He appears to have violated Putin’s original requirement that the leaks stop in exchange for temporary asylum. A ground for not extending his refugee visa. Snowden denies either China or Russia has accessed his documents and that the remaining  cache is concealed somewhere  and encrypted. He told the Washington post there is nothing on his computer and he doubts that China or Russia has ever gained access to his documents. One has to wonder why he is keeping the remaining documents. Snowden’s additional value to a foreign entity is also the information he has in his head about NSA operations.

WHAT COULD BE HIS ACE IN THE HOLE?

The U.S. says it won’t negotiate  although  NSA would sorely like to know the extent of what Snowden took and to get the data back. Snowden appears to be very intelligent and shrewd in his handling of this matter  and if he did come back without a prior pledge of amnesty or immunity he would likely do well in any court case with powerful backing by the defense bar and monetary supporters. Also it appears he has held back some devastating revelation the NSA would like to keep secret. Something  like the NSA was compiling files on the personal lives of the  Executive and Congress just like Hoover did.

However not withstanding his possible ace in the hole  his options are running out and he may end up in a cloistered residence at a foreign embassy like Assange  which can’t be that comfortable.

He already has criminal charges pending in the United States that makes him subject to extradition by any country with a treaty with the U.S. that covers his activities. Russia at the present time does not. Probably because extradition is a two way street and there are people in the U.S. that Russia would like but the U.S. is protecting.

What could happen to  Snowden is  that  he be  condemned to a life of  exile like Phillip Agee the CIA operative who wrote a book outing other CIA agents. He died in Cuba in 2008 never to return to the U.S. after his 1968 book and then there  is the British spies Burgess, MacLean and Philby who spent the remainder of their lives in Moscow.

However Snowden’s case is a magnitude different from their cases and  the outcome  may  different and his case is also very different from the  Chelsea Manning case.

 

 

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