July 1, 2013

EU official: 'Partners do not spy on each other'

By LARA JAKES The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A demonstrator protests with a poster against the National Security Agency Saturday in Hanover, Germany. Germany's top justice official says reports that U.S. intelligence bugged European Union offices remind her of "the methods used by enemies during the Cold War."

The Associated Press

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Snowden 'marooned in Russia,' say Assange, Correa

Edward Snowden -- the fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor -- appears to be stuck in Moscow, unable to leave without a valid American passport, according to interviews Sunday with two men who had sought to aid him: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa.

Snowden, 30, arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport last weekend, after previously taking refuge in Hong Kong. Moscow was only supposed to be a stopover. WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization, had said Snowden was headed on to Ecuador -- whose leftist president has been critical of the United States -- and that he would seek asylum there.

Now, however, both men said Snowden is unable to leave.

"The United States, by canceling his passport, has left him for the moment marooned in Russia," said Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." The United States canceled Snowden's passport last weekend. Assange criticized the United States, saying: "To take a passport from a young man in a difficult situation like that is a disgrace."

Correa spoke to the Associated Press in Puerto Viejo, Ecuador. For now, Correa said, Snowden was "under the care of the Russian authorities."

"This is the decision of Russian authorities. He doesn't have a passport. I don't know the Russian laws, I don't know if he can leave the airport, but I understand that he can't," Correa said. He said that the case was now out of Ecuador's hands. "If [Snowden] arrives at an Ecuadoran Embassy, we'll analyze his request for asylum."

-- The Washington Post

Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden downplayed the European outrage over the programs, saying they "should look first and find out what their own governments are doing." But Hayden said the Obama administration should try to head off public criticism by being more open about the top-secret programs so "people know exactly what it is we are doing in this balance between privacy and security."

"The more they know, the more comfortable they will feel," Hayden said. "Frankly, I think we ought to be doing a bit more to explain what it is we're doing, why, and the very tight safeguards under which we're operating."

Hayden also defended a secretive U.S. court that weighs whether to allow the government to seize Internet and phone records from private companies. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is made up of federal judges but does not consider objections from defense attorneys in considering the government's request for records.

Last year, the government asked the court to approve 1,789 applications to spy on foreign intelligence targets, according to a Justice Department notice to Congress dated April 30. The court approved all but one -- and that was withdrawn by the government.

Critics have derided the court as a rubber-stamp approval for the government, sparking an unusual response last week in The Washington Post by its former chief judge.

In a statement to the newspaper, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly refuted a draft NSA inspector general's report that suggested the court collaborated with the executive branch instead of maintaining judicial independence. Kollar-Kotelly was the court's chief judge from 2002 to 2006, when some of the surveillance programs were under way.

Some European counties have much stronger privacy laws than does the U.S. In Germany, where criticism of the NSA's surveillance programs has been particularly vocal, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger likened the spying outlined in the Der Spiegel report to "methods used by enemies during the Cold War."

 

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