After days in a Moscow airport, Edward Snowden broke his silence through a statement issued by Wikileaks. The NSA leaker accused the United States government of trying to intimidate him, leaving him a stateless person and pressuring other nations to revoke his request for asylum.
“The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon," a part of the statement says. "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."
Though Snowden remains in a transit area in the Moscow airport, he has abandoned his request for asylum in Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin said asylum would only be granted if Snowden stops leaking classified information against the United States.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is currently in Russia, says he has not yet received an application requesting asylum, but is keeping open the possibility of granting such status to Snowden.
And Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has seemingly backed off his country's involvement in the matter following a phone call with Vice President Joe Biden.
Ellen Barry, Moscow Bureau Chief for our partner The New York Times, and Kimberly Marten, political science professor at Barnard College, join The Takeaway to discuss Putin's decision and the possible next steps for Snowden.