LONDON (Reuters) - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, currently in a transit zone at a Moscow airport, has broken his silence for the first time since fleeing to Russia eight days ago to say he remains free to make new disclosures about U.S. spying activity.
Following is the English translation of an undated letter from Snowden to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, written in Spanish, and shown to Reuters:
“There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world. I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum.
“The Government of the United States of America has built the world’s largest system of surveillance. This global system affects every human life touched by technology; recording, analyzing, and passing secret judgment over each member of the international public. It is a grave violation of our universal human rights when a political system perpetuates automatic, pervasive, and unwarranted spying against innocent people. In accordance with this belief, I revealed this program to my country and the world. While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.
“As I face this persecution, there has been silence from governments afraid of the United States Government and their threats. Ecuador, however, rose to stand and defend the human right to seek asylum. The decisive action of your Consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong - I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, 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. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.
“Please accept my gratitude on behalf of your government and the people of the Republic of Ecuador, as well as my great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding.
“Edward Joseph Snowden”
Reporting By Andrew Osborn; Editing by Kevin Liffey