Snowden seeks asylum from several countries including China, Russia

Snowden in a statement, released by WikiLeaks, has accused U.S. President Barack Obama of deception

By , IDG News Service |  Security

The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon, Snowden wrote. "Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum."

The NSA was allowed by a court order to collect phone metadata of a large number of customers of Verizon, according to a report in the Guardian last month. The information was said to have been leaked by Snowden who also passed on documents that suggested that the NSA had real-time access to the content on servers of Internet companies like Facebook and Google.

26 U.S. senators, cutting across party lines, said on Friday they are seeking "public answers" on a number of issues related to the surveillance, including whether the National Security Agency collected in bulk other data such as credit card purchases and financial information in the U.S. besides phone records, and specific evidence of how the surveillance helped foil terrorist plots.

New legislation, introduced last week in the U.S. Senate, called the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, aims to reform the Patriot and FISA Amendments Acts to provide greater oversight and control to the government's surveillance programs.

Whistle-blowers, authors, academicians and actors have urged Correa to grant Snowden political asylum, stating that the Obama administration, U.S. Congress and most of the media have focused "their ire on the messenger," instead of focusing on the danger to citizens' freedom and privacy exposed by the revelations, and the reforms necessary to protect citizens' rights. A letter signed by Pentagon papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, author Noam Chomsky and film director Oliver Stone, among others, was released Monday by organization Just Foreign Policy.

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