Snowden Seeks Asylum in 20 Countries

Russia a Choice, But Not Necessarily a Good One

Though most of the media focus right now is on Edward Snowden seeking asylum “in Russia,” the whistleblower has actually sought asylum from 20 different countries in all, apparently seeking new options as his Ecuador bid appears more or less permanently stalled.

It isn’t hard to see why Russia would get all of the focus, since it is in keeping with the Obama Administration’s narrative of the NSA leaks being a “US versus Russia” issue and Congressional calls to “punish” Russia.

Still. despite being logistically convenient, Russia may not be the best option for Snowden, or even a good option, since Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding Snowden stop speaking out if he wants to stay.

That could well be a deal-breaker, as Snowden doesn’t appear to have any intention of ending his opposition to the NSA surveillance plan, nor to stop revealing the truth about them.

The growing anger in the EU over revelations of NSA surveillance against EU diplomats could open up a whole bunch of appealing new destinations for Snowden as well. French political leaders on both the left and the right are calling for France to offer asylum, and Germany’s Green Party is urging Germany to do the same.

How likely either of those destinations is remains to be seen, but an official grant of asylum from a major EU member nation, especially a key NATO ally, would be a huge rebuke to the Obama Administration’s surveillance schemes.

The 20 nations were made public on WikiLeaks, and include myriad choices across Europe, Asia and South America. Ecuador no longer appears to be an option, however, with President Rafael Correa terming past support for him a “mistake” and insisted he is “Russia’s problem.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of