Edward Snowden ‘would love’ to be granted asylum in France

Vincent Wood
Edward Snowden said the NSA had been warned it attack tools could be used to target western softwares

Whistle blower Edward Snowden has said he would love to be offered asylum by France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Snowden, who served as a sub-contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been living in exile in Russia since revealing details of surveillance programmes run by US Intelligence.

Now in an interview with radio station France Inter, he said he would "love to see" Mr Macron make a gesture enabling him to live in the country.

However, he added that his ambition was to see whistle blowers given further protection in general.

One of the “saddest things” about his story was that “the only place that an American whistle blower can speak out today is not in Europe but in Russia”, he said.

Noting that he had already applied for asylum in France under Francois Hollande in 2013, he added: “It’s not about France. It’s about Europe, it’s about the world, this system.

“Protecting whistle blowers is not a hostile act. Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the US.”

Mr Snowden’s sharing of classified intelligence information was one of the largest leaks in US history.

It included 41 PowerPoint slides outlining the NSA’s use of data mining to carry out mass surveillance exercises on the public.

Codenamed PRISM, the surveillance programme utilised by the NSA collected communications en masse from various American internet companies.

  • Read more

Snowden initially fled to Hong Kong to leak the documents in 2013, before travelling to Russia where he was eventually granted asylum.

While his action is seen by many civil rights activists as a heroic act, US authorities want Mr Snowden to stand trial.

Under Barack Obama, the Justice department revoked his passport and unsealed two charges of violating the Espionage Act, as well as theft of government property.

Current president Donald Trump called for Mr Snowden’s execution before he took office, and has since maintained a tough stance on the whistle blower.

Read more

Read more CIA Director says leaking on the rise thanks to 'worship' of Snowden