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Putin lays down critical condition for Snowden asylum

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Russian President Vladimir Putin made some comments Monday that appear out-of-character for a frenemy of the United States. Putin suggested that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could be granted asylum in Russia, but only if he stops leaking secrets. Meanwhile, U.S. allies are upset at the latest revelation that the U.S. has bugged their facilities and networks.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Despite high-level negotiations confirmed by President Obama, Putin has repeated his word that he will not extradite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the United States.

Showden is thought to be living in the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. Since he is reportedly residing in the international section of his terminal, Russian authorities deny that he has actually entered Russia and say they have no jurisdiction over him.

Despite his permitted residence in the terminal, Putin has reiterated that he'd prefer Snowden leave. "If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that," Putin said.

Curiously, he added, "If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips."

Putin clarified his understanding of Snowden. "Just because he feels that he is a human rights defender, rights activist, he doesn't seem to have an intention to stop such work," the Russian President said.

This means Snowden will likely remain in limbo in the Sheremetyevo airport, and he will continue leaking information.

It is unclear if Snowden has sought asylum in Russia, there have been mixed reports that he has done so. The Federal Migration Service of Russia says they have no such application from Snowden.

Meanwhile, the United States has revoked his passport and Ecuador, which a week ago appeared to be a likely destination for Snowden, has revoked Snowden's temporary travel documents and has hinted that it may actually deny Snowden's application.

Ecuador had previously stated that it would take at least eight weeks to process the application. Last week, Obama made threats against Ecuador, should the country accept Snowden. Ecuadorian President Correa lashed back at the U.S. publicly, but the government appears to have chilled to the prospect of granting Snowden's request.

Meanwhile, Snowden has fired his latest salvo, with the German newspaper, Der Spiegel reporting that the United States has bugged the European Union offices in Washington D.C. and hacked into the computer network there.

The news that the U.S. was spying on its own allies has prompted shocked, angry responses from members of the European Union.

European officials have suggested the news could hinder free trade negations between the U.S. and E.U., but experts say a disruption in trade is unlikely, citing the fact that trade between the two continents remains largely divorced from politics.

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