Edward Snowden says he would like asylum in France

His memoirs Permanent Record will be out next week

September 14, 2019 11:16 pm | Updated 11:17 pm IST - Paris

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden, living in Russia since leaking a trove of classified documents showing the scope of post-9/11 U.S. government surveillance, wants to claim asylum in France, according to an interview published on Saturday.

Recalling he had already applied for French asylum in 2013 under former president Francois Hollande, Mr. Snowden, whose memoirs Permanent Record will be released on Tuesday, told France Inter radio he hoped President Emmanuel Macron would grant him that right.

“The saddest thing of this whole story is that the only place an American whistle-blower has the chance to be heard is not in Europe but here (in Russia),” Mr. Snowden said in a trailer of the interview to be broadcast in its entirety on Monday.

To date, more than a dozen countries have turned down requests to take in the 36-year-old, leading him to question their reasoning and “the system we live in”.

“Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act,” he said.

Mr. Snowden once worked for the CIA in addition to the National Security Agency but has been living in Russia since his 2013 megaleak.

Though praised as a whistle-blower and a privacy advocate by his defenders, the United States accuses him of endangering national security. Espionage charges could send him to prison for decades.

In a video on his Twitter account, Mr. Snowden said last week that “everything that we do now lasts forever, not because we want to remember but because we’re no longer allowed to forget”.

“Helping to create that system is my greatest regret,” he said.

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