This Week in Leaks: Snowden Has News for Latin America, and Defense Scores Points in Manning Trial
Just a day after Edward Snowden went on record with the Guardian to reiterate that he never allowed Russian or Chinese officials direct access to NSA documents, he's back again with a new round of leaks.
This time, it's Latin America's turn to be shocked by revelations that the NSA has been spying on various governments in the region over the last 5 years. The revealing report, published in Brazilian newspaper O Globo (and kindly translated for the rest of us by the Washington Post ), summarizes a series of documents dating back to 2008 that show extensive breaches of military, security, and economic data.
Some of the revelations are less than surprising, like the fact that the U.S. has been keeping an eye on rogue oil-producer Venezuela, and is suspicious of its relationships with Iran and FARC (or the Revolutionary Armed Forces, a Colombian Marxist rebel group). Other documents, however, revealed information that could potentially be very damaging to U.S. relations with critical Latin American allies. Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil probably won't be happy to hear that the NSA has been secretly spying on the trade secrets of some of their nationalized industries for years.
Snowden is reportedly fielding offers of asylum from Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The question is now how he's going to get to any of these countries from the international transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he's been isolated since he left Hong Kong over two weeks ago.
In other leak-related news, Yochai Benkler, a witness for the defense in the Bradley Manning trial, testified Wednesday that a 2008 Defense Deparmtment report on WikiLeaks deemed the organization a "news gathering operation." Benkler, a Harvard professor, also explained that the report gave no indication that WikiLeaks information might be at risk of becoming an aid for foreign enemies.
If the defense fails, Manning will likely face a lifetime in prison with no chance of parole.