Edward Snowden (Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras / The Guardian v)
WikiLeaks hints that the international stalemate over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s bid for asylum could be broken Wednesday.
WikiLeaks, which has championed Snowden’s cause since he fled to Hong Kong, issued a cryptic tweet Tuesday saying that “the first phase of Edward Snowden’s ‘Flight of Liberty’ campaign will be launched” on Wednesday.
Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who broke stories on the NSA’s surveillance network based on Snowden’s leaks, tells CBS Radio News that Venezuela is the “obvious choice” among three nations — including Bolivia and Nicaragua — that have offered to take him in.
Snowden, who revealed details of a U.S. intelligence program to monitor Internet activity, arrived in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport June 23 from Hong Kong and is believed to be stuck in the airport’s transit zone awaiting developments.
Greenwald says it could take days or weeks for the 30-year-old former NSA contractor to work out the logistics of getting to the Latin American country.
“Venezuela seems to be the most plausible choice,” Greenwald told CBS Radio News Tuesday. “They are the ones best equipped to, I think, get him from Moscow to Latin America safely, and then to protect him once he’s there.”
“The difficulty is figuring out how to get to where he wants to go without the world’s empire preventing him from getting there,” Greenwald said, referring to the U.S.
Snowden has requested asylum in more than two dozen countries.
There was a flurry of speculation Tuesday that a break was imminent when a Russian lawmaker tweeted — them deleted — a post saying Snowden had decided to accept asylum in Venezuela.
Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, has played an unofficial role for the Kremlin on the Snowden affair but this time acknowledged in deleting his tweet that he did not have any inside knowledge.
Pushkov tweeted Sunday: “Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum.”
A nationwide poll released Wednesday indicates that a majority of American voters believe Snowden is a whistleblower.
The poll from Quinnipiac University found that 55 percent of voters regard Snowden as a “whistleblower” while 35 percent consider him a traitor.