If All These Countries Are So Outraged By Revelations Of US Spying On Them, Why Aren’t They Offering Snowden Asylum?

Glenn Greenwald makes some really good points in a Guardian column (one of his last) discussing the reactions to the latest revelations about the NSA surveillance on citizens and (mainly) top politicians in other countries. The key one being, if these countries are really so outraged by these revelations, shouldn’t they be offering Ed Snowden asylum, since they appear to be admitting that these revelations are important?

All of these governments keep saying how newsworthy these revelations are, how profound are the violations they expose, how happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted they are to reform. If that’s true, why are they allowing the person who enabled all these disclosures – Edward Snowden – to be targeted for persecution by the US government for the “crime” of blowing the whistle on all of this?

If the German and French governments – and the German and French people – are so pleased to learn of how their privacy is being systematically assaulted by a foreign power over which they exert no influence, shouldn’t they be offering asylum to the person who exposed it all, rather than ignoring or rejecting his pleas to have his basic political rights protected, and thus leaving him vulnerable to being imprisoned for decades by the US government?

Of course, when put in the context of how it’s really just about cutting off the power of American hypocrisy, this situation makes more sense, even as it highlights the hypocrisy of those other countries.

The reality is that none of these leaders expressing outrage are actually shocked by this. Everyone knew this was going on. They’re reacting this way because it’s all part of the theater, in which they have to act shocked and to condemn the US, but it’s really just about the information being revealed. When looked at under that light, of course they have no interest in offering Snowden asylum. He’s the one who created the “shock” by revealing this information which all those officials almost certainly knew about, while pretending not to.


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