A White House official said Edward Snowden's attempt to seek asylum in Brazil and offer to help that country investigate U.S. spying has not changed the administration's position that he should return home where he faces multiple espionage charges.
“It remains our view that Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and he should return to the U.S. as soon as possible where he will be extended full due process and protections,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday.
Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker who is currently living in Russia where he has been granted a year's asylum, wrote an open letter to the Brazilian people saying he would help the country look into U.S. surveillance programs if he is granted permanent asylum.
“I've expressed my willingness to assist where it's appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the U.S. government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,” he wrote in an open letter published in the Folha de S Paulo newspaper. “Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out.”
Brazilians have expressed outrage about the extent of U.S. spying programs' targeting phone and internet traffic.
Documents Snowden leaked show that the NSA has monitored phone calls and emails of millions of Brazil's citizens, hacked into the communications of the country's leaders and executives at its largest oil company Petrobras.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff earlier this year postponed a planned state visit to the U.S. to protest the NSA’s surveillance.