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Edward Snowden Wants France to Grant Him Asylum

Exile says he married American girlfriend 2 years ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2019 8:00 AM CDT
Edward Snowden can be seen on video screens at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress (34c3) at the fair grounds in Leipzig, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.   (Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)
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(Newser) – After six years of exile in Russia, Edward Snowden is apparently ready for a change of scenery. In an interview aired Monday, the National Security Agency whistleblower said he applied for political asylum in 2013, after he leaked documents showing the extent of the NSA's domestic surveillance, and he would "love it" if President Emmanuel Macron granted it, reports Reuters. "But it's not about France, it’s about Europe, it’s about the world and the system that we have," Snowden said. "Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act. Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the United States." Nicole Belloubet, the country's justice minister, said she personally supports giving him asylum, though she stressed that she wasn't speaking for the government.

Democratic candidates including Bernie Sanders have said they support ending Snowden's exile—although President Trump has said he is a spy who should be executed. Snowden spoke to the Guardian ahead of the Tuesday release of his memoir, Permanent Record. He revealed that he married partner Lindsay Mills in Russia two years ago, and lives a relatively normal life in Moscow —although he still misses Taco Bell. He says the fact that he provides Russia with good publicity is one of the reasons Vladimir Putin hasn't sent him to the US as a "gift." "A country whose political troubles are legendary, whose problems with human rights we hear about every single day has finally, somehow, managed to have one bright spot on their human rights record … Why would they give that up?" he says. (Read more Edward Snowden stories.)

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