National Security Brief: Russia Says It Will Consider Asylum For NSA Leaker

Edward Snowden, the IT contractor who is said to have leaked classified documents on the NSA’s telephone and data spying programs, is currently believed to be somewhere in Hong Kong and has said he would seek asylum “in a country with shared values,” possibly Iceland (however unlikely that scenario is).

While it’s not known whether Snowden has made any requests, the Russians said they would consider it. “If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We’ll act according to facts,” said a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The comments were met with wide support from Russian lawmakers.

“Listening to telephones and tracking the internet, the US special services broke the laws of their country. In this case, Snowden, like Assange, is a human rights activist,” said Alexey Pushkov, head of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee.

In other news:

  • Syrian rebels are making impassioned pleas to the U.S. and its allies for weapons and ammo after losing control of a Lebanese border town to Hezbollah and the Syrian military. Meanwhile, Obama administration officials are considering getting more militarily involved in the conflict.
  • Bloomberg reports: A Pentagon cybersecurity budget outline calls for spending almost $23 billion through fiscal 2018, as efforts are expanded on initiatives from protecting computer networks to developing offensive capabilities.
  • Reuters reports: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Monday that Israel was ready to confine Jewish settlement expansion to the blocs of occupied territory it wants to keep under any peace deal with the Palestinians, in a nod to U.S. efforts to revive stalled negotiations.