Ex-Sen. Humphrey: Sweden Should Offer Snowden Asylum

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 02:46 PM

By Dan Weil

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Edward Snowden was right to leak information about government snooping, and he should be granted asylum in Sweden, former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey says.

"Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harm's way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution," Humphrey emailed the former government contractor who is now holed up in a Moscow airport.

Snowden replied to the former two-term Senator from New Hampshire, thanking him for his support. "The media has distorted my actions and intentions to distract from the substance of Constitutional violations and instead focus on personalities," Snowden wrote.

"It seems they believe every modern narrative requires a bad guy. Perhaps it does. Perhaps, in such times, loving one's country means being hated by its government."

He said he continues to protect valid U.S. government secrets. "You may rest easy knowing I cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture," Snowden wrote to Humphrey.

Both emails were published in Britain's Guardian newspaper, the outlet that first published Snowden's revelations about the extent of the government's spying.

Humphrey said Sweden is the ideal country as it is only an hour from Moscow and a flight there need not cross into the airspace of a country "likely to cooperate with the U.S. in forcing down an aircraft carrying Mr. Snowden to asylum."

"Respectfully, I say to Sweden, 'America has done wrong in this instance. Stand up to her. Grant Edward Snowden asylum,'" Humphrey told Politico Wednesday. "You will do the people of the United States a great favor to resist their government in this matter and at this moment."

The Scandinavian nation is not among the countries where Snowden has applied for asylum in the Scandinavian nation, according to WikiLeaks.

But it "has a reputation for high-mindedness" and "a strong tradition of justice," Humphrey said. "And even though Sweden is warmly friendly towards the United States, it is firm in its determination to act independently."

Humphrey, 72, who quit the Senate in 1990 making good on a pledge to serve only two terms, told Politico he hasn't contacted the Obama administration to offer his opinion and feels he can have more effect by engaging the public. He also said he will try enlisting other former members of Congress in urging Sweden and other Western countries to "stand up to Washington and grant Mr. Snowden asylum."

Meanwhile, Russia may grant Snowden temporary asylum outside the Moscow airport within a week, according to his lawyer, The Associated Press reports.

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