Edward Snowden wrote a very nice letter to Brazil saying he’d be happy to help the country investigate U.S. spying, if only someone would grant him permanent political asylum, but he probably won’t be turning up on a beach in Rio de Janeiro anytime soon. While reports that the NSA spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff caused such an uproar that she canceled a state visit, unnamed government officials told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that the nation has no interest in investigating Snowden’s revelations, and doesn’t plan to offer him asylum.
Unsurprisingly, pardoning Snowden is still off the table, though one participant in Tuesday’s meeting with technology executives at the White House raised the idea with President Obama. According to the Washington Post, the president said he couldn’t do that, adding that Snowden should be returned to the United states as soon as possible, “where he will be accorded full due process and protections.”
The White House already shot down the idea this week after Rick Ledgett, the NSA official who heads the task force assessing the damage done by Snowden’s leaks, told 60 Minutes that he believes the idea of giving Snowden amnesty is “worth having a conversation about.”
Obama was probably even less receptive to the idea after a discussion on government surveillance consumed most of what was supposed to be a meeting about health care with CEOs from companies including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The meeting went over the allotted two hours, as executives from fifteen Silicon Valley companies told Obama the NSA’s spying programs are damaging their reputations, and could hurt the economy.
One industry official summed up their message as, “What the hell are you doing? Are you really hacking into the infrastructure of American companies overseas? The same American companies that cooperate with your lawful orders and spend a lot of money to comply with them to facilitate your intelligence collection?” Senior administration officials said the meeting was “constructive, not at all contentious,” so it sounds like they found a nicer way to phrase that.