Former National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden released a statement via WikiLeaks Monday, saying he was "unbowed in [his] convictions" and accusing Washington of bullying other countries to deny his asylum request.
Snowden, who fled the United States after exposing PRISM, the NSA’s electronic surveillance program, had not been heard from since he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport about a week ago.
"It is being reported that after promising not to do so, [President Obama] ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions," Snowden said in the statement, dated July 1, 2013.
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me," he said.
"In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake," Snowden continues. "We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be."
Snowden also sounded defiant in a letter to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador obtained by Reuters. In the undated Spanish-language letter, Snowden said the US was illegally persecuting him, but that "I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest."
"No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world," he wrote.
Ecuador is one of the 21 countries to which Snowden has applied for asylum, and he thanked them for considering his request.
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