Snowden in charm offensive in Brazil's press

Snowden in charm offensive in Brazil's press

BRASïLIA - US leaker Edward Snowden said in a TV interview here that he would accept asylum in Brazil if offered, but not if it were in exchange for information about US intelligence.

Snowden, in an interview broadcast late Sunday on the news show "Fantastico" on Globo TV network, also criticised the panel that is reviewing US intelligence gathering, pointing out that it was hand-picked by the White House and that the changes it called for were cosmetic.

Nevertheless he acknowledged that the panel represented an important first step in reining in the massive US surveillance programs.

The interview was conducted via email through an attorney in New York, and Snowden's answers were broadcast in Portuguese.

The US panel recommended curbing the powers of the National Security Agency, warning that its sweeps in the war on terror have gone too far.

Tens of thousands of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden to The Guardian newspaper and other media outlets have detailed the nature of the agency's hitherto shadowy activities.

On Tuesday, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper ran "an open letter to the Brazilian people" signed by Snowden in which he said he stood ready to help the Brazilian Senate's investigation of US eavesdropping on Brazilian targets.

But in the interview broadcast Sunday, Snowden clarified that he was not offering to swap information for an asylum.

Snowden's charm offensive with the Brazilian government and people may mean he is hoping for a fresh look from President Dilma Rousseff's government - perhaps for asylum or a humanitarian visa.

In July the rogue intelligence analyst unsuccessfully sought asylum in Brazil, as well as in other countries.

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