EDIT: 8/1/13 – It turns out I received bad intel on this story. I guess he was actually just granted asylum in Russia for one year. That’s where he is and will be for the while. My bad.
Washington, DC — The Al Jazeera news agency is reporting that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has safely landed in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had offered asylum to the former U.S. intelligence contractor on Friday who was believed to be waiting in transit at a Moscow airport.
Guillermo Thomas who is a spokesman for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela told aljazeera.com that Snowden is currently in the country and that he is thrilled to be there. “We are very blessed to have Mr. Snowden in our country, it is a pleasure,” Thomas said. “There were no direct flights across the Atlantic from Moscow to Venezuela. The only flight for Snowden to avoid U.S. extradition was to travel through Cuba. We would like to thank our friends in Cuba for making this journey possible and such a success.” Thomas continued, “Mr. Snowden is a hero and should be treated as one. We are pleased to provide this hero a home where he can live and be safe.”
Maduro announced his decision to allow asylum to Snowden during Venezuelan independence day celebrations. “As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can come and live here, away from the persecution of American imperialism.”
Snowden’s journey began in May of this year after he was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, on the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy. On May 20th, Snowden flew to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. This is where he was staying when the initial articles revealing information about the NSA that he had leaked were published. Among other specifics, Snowden disclosed the existence and functions of several classified U.S. surveillance programs and their scope, including notably PRISM, NSA call database and Boundless Informant. He also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ.
Snowden explained his actions to Glenn Greenwald from the Guardian about the motives behind the biggest intelligence leak in a generation. “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things (surveillance on its citizens). I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” Snowden further stated, “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
Snowden told the Guardian that by revealing his identity he hoped to protect his colleagues from being subjected to a hunt in determining who had been responsible for the leaks. He also said that Lindsay Mills, his girlfriend who was living with him in Hawaii, was being a real “bummer” and this was as good an excuse as any to get away from that situation.
Lindsay Mills’ new boyfriend Paul Horner told the BBC News earlier this month that Snowden couldn’t handle commitment. “He’s just using this whole whistleblower thing as an excuse. The truth is, Lindsay is a great girl and Snowden really blew it by leaving her,” Horner said. “But she’s with me now and I’ll make sure to take real good care of her. America is here for their women in need, especially when that woman was left by a traitor to this country.”
On June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. Snowden is believed to have asked 27 countries for asylum, most of whom had turned down his request since he outed himself as the NSA whistleblower responsible for leaking information about U.S. Government spy programs.