Brazil Ready to Deny Asylum for Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

The American whistleblower had offered to collaborate in the inquiries regarding NSA spying on Brazilian officials in exchange for permanent asylum.

BUENOS AIRES – Edward Snowden’s offer to help Brazil with information on the NSA spying on the country will meet a negative response, according to an investigation by Sao Paulo-based newspaper Folha.

Earlier today in an “Open Letter to the Brazilian People” -- published on the Facebook page of David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald -- Snowden had offered to help a Senate inquiry on NSA activity in Brazil, which included monitoring phone calls and emails from Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and the country’s state-run oil company Petrobras.

"Many Brazilian senators have asked [for] my help with their investigations into suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. I expressed my willingness to assist, where it is appropriate and legal, but unfortunately the U.S. government has been working very hard to limit my ability to do so," said the letter.

This prompted a Twitter response from Sen. Ricardo Ferraço, chairman of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, who wrote: "Brazil should not miss the opportunity to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, who was key to unraveling the U.S. espionage system."

Snowden claimed his current condition in Russia, where he has a temporary asylum, challenges this collaboration. "Until a country grants permanent asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak," he wrote, although no formal request was submitted through official channels.

According to Folha's investigation, the Foreign Ministry highlights as "positive" part of Snowden’s letter, in which he advocates for the defense of privacy and basic human rights, which might be at risk because of actions such as the ones made by the NSA.

“The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own ‘safety’ -- for Dilma's ‘safety,’ for Petrobras' ‘safety’ -- they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: They do this five billion times a day to people around the world,” the letter said.

However, Folha’s report states that the Brazilian Foreign Ministry does not intend to "pay back" the United States, and cites a presidential aide who stressed that the Brazilian government could not enter this type of exchanging game -- to grant asylum in order to receive information to investigate the actions of the U.S. spy agency.