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Ecuador: Snowden is Russia's problem

Not considering asylum request

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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden looks increasingly stranded in Russia, with Ecuador's president reportedly saying that the country is not considering an asylum request from him.

President Rafael Correa has told The Guardian that Snowden is Russia's responsibility, and he would need to reach Ecuadorian territory for the country to consider an asylum request.

President Correa also attributed the temporary travel pass issued to Snowden while he was in Hong Kong to a mistake, adding that “Mr Snowden's situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian authorities.”

He explained that the travel documents granted by the country's London consul Fidel Navaraez should not have been issued. The safe conduct document was issued “without validity, without authorisation, without us even knowing”, and that Navaraez will be “sanctioned” for the mistake.

Snowden has applied for asylum in fifteen countries, according to the Los Angeles Times citing Russian foreign ministry officials. The Guardian is separately reporting that one of those countries is Russia, with Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison passing the request to the foreign ministry.

Hailed as a whistleblowing hero and simultaneously denounced as a threat to American security, Snowden caused a sensation by spiriting PowerPoint slides out of the National Security Agency, where he was an external contractor employed by Booz Allen Hamilton.

These slides and Snowden's work have formed the basis of accusations that the NSA's PRISM project has a feed from major Internet companies including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Google; that America stores billions of minutes of its citizens' telephone conversations each day; and that US spying includes hacking overseas targets and slurping data and phone calls Germany. ®

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