WikiLeaks to Iceland: Grant Snowden Asylum

Assange cites 'personal sympathy' for leaker

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2013 2:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – After a year in Ecuador's embassy, Julian Assange is now seeking asylum for someone else. WikiLeaks is in talks with Iceland's government to secure asylum for Edward Snowden, Assange said; an Iceland spokeswoman said Snowden supporters have indeed been pushing for it, the New York Times reports. The country "would be a smart choice" for Snowden since its leaders have backed freedom of information, says a law professor. Assange, for his part, says he has a "great deal of personal sympathy" for the NSA whistleblower.

Assange revealed the effort to reporters in a conference call that included some other high-profile leakers: Daniel Ellsberg, the 1971 Pentagon Papers whistleblower, and Thomas Drake, who unveiled concerns about NSA management. "This is our last chance, I think, to keep our press and thus our democracy from becoming like China’s or the Soviet Union," Ellsberg said, per ABC News. The Obama administration is now considering tweaking the NSA phone record surveillance program over privacy concerns, the Times adds, but top security officials have their doubts. Click for more.

A banner supporting Edward Snowden is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district, Wednesday, June 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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