Obama’s reform plans victory for Snowden: Assange

Palestinian negotiator says bid to sabotage US and international efforts to resume dialogue

Written by Reuters | London | Published: August 12, 2013 2:20 am

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans to limit sweeping U.S. government surveillance programs a victory of sorts for fugitive former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

“Today,the President of the United States validated Edward Snowden’s role as a whistleblower by announcing plans to reform America’s global surveillance program,” Assange said in a statement referring to Obama’s announcement on Friday.

“Today was a victory of sorts for Edward Snowden and his many supporters,” Assange said in the statement,which was posted on the WikiLeaks website on Saturday. “As Snowden has stated,his biggest concern was if he blew the whistle and change did not occur. Well reforms are taking shape,and for that,the President and people of the US and around the world owe Edward Snowden a debt of gratitude.”

Assange,who has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than a year,rejected Obama’s assertion that his reforms were planned before Snowden’s disclosures about US surveillance activities. “The simple fact is that without Snowden’s disclosures,no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place,” he said.

In announcing his reform plans on Friday,Obama vowed to improve oversight of surveillance and restore public trust,saying the US “can and must be more transparent.”

Snowden father gets Russia visa

Washington: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges,Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

Neither Lon Snowden nor his attorney Bruce Fein has spoken directly with Snowden since he fled the US and got a temporary asylum in Russia,they said. “As a father,I want my son to come home if I believe that the justice system … is going to be applied correctly,” Lon Snowden said. AP

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