Russia Today (RT) reports that President Vladimir Putin, of Russia, has offered 'asylum' to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden--but with a string attached.
“There is one condition if he wants to remain here: he must stop his work aimed at damaging our American partners. As odd as it may sound from me,” Putin told a media conference in Moscow.Update: Multiple newspapers in the US and UK (including The Guardian) are reporting that Snowden submitted asylum requests to 15 countries, including Russia, on Sunday. Russia Today says "Nyet."
Putin repeated an earlier statement that Snowden is not working with Russia and will not extradite the NSA whistleblower if he chooses to reject Russia's offer.
"Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia,” Putin stated.
Snowden "is not a Russian agent", the president said, repeating that Russian intelligence services were not working with the fugitive American.Putin's statement follows an earlier report that the Russian Security Service had been ordered to stay in "permanent contact" with the FBI "in an attempt to decide Edward Snowden's fate."
There has been speculation that Snowden might obtain asylum with Venezuela, and Putin has indicated that Snowden is free to go where he chooses. However, the best option, if it were to be offered, might be for the EU or Germany to offer to put Snowden into a witness protection program (as I suggested yesterday) because merely residing in South America provides no protection from US intelligence agencies, which have a longstanding presence in South America.