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Snowden Supporters Seek Brazil Asylum and Offer to Aid Probe

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Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Supporters of Edward Snowden have started a campaign to convince Brazil’s government to grant the former NSA contractor asylum so he can help probe alleged U.S. spying on the South American nation.

“The Brazilian people have a wish to aid the person who helped them understand this system of espionage,” said David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, who reported for the Guardian newspaper on Snowden’s allegations about U.S. surveillance programs. Miranda’s online petition to grant Snowden asylum in Brazil has about 6,400 signatures.

The Rousseff administration would be unlikely to approve a possible asylum request by Snowden, according to the presidential palace’s press office.

President Dilma Rousseff in September called off a state visit to Washington after allegations surfaced that the U.S. National Security Agency monitored her e-mail and telephone communications with top aides. The NSA also spied on state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, according to accusations presented by Greenwald based on documents leaked by Snowden.

On his Facebook page, Miranda posted a letter attributed to Snowden. In it, Snowden said that Brazilian Senators have asked him to assist with their investigations into suspected crimes against Brazilians and that his willingness to help has been limited by the U.S. government.

‘Political Asylum’

“Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” Snowden said in the letter.

A U.S. federal court judge ruled yesterday that the NSA’s program of collecting telephone-call data is probably illegal, allowing a lawsuit claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution to go forward.

Russia granted Snowden a one-year asylum visa on Aug. 1. The former contractor faces espionage charges in the U.S. for disclosing top-secret NSA surveillance programs, including hacking of private Internet systems.

The U.S. Embassy’s press office in Brasilia was not immediately able to comment when contacted by phone on the charges against Snowden.

To contact the reporter on this story: Raymond Colitt in Brasilia Newsroom at rcolitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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