More leaks on way, says Assange

Last updated 15:55 29/06/2013
Edward Snowden
SPEAKING OUT: National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is likely to reveal much more information about the global surveillance programs of the US National Security Agency, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange says.

''I believe we will see a lot more detail, a lot more information,'' Assange said on Friday.

He said Snowden's disclosures of US signals intelligence and internet surveillance programs published by The Guardian and The Washington Post offered a ''bird's-eye perspective'' but the fine detail was essential for the leaks to achieve lasting political impact.

''We've seen matters at a high level. Now we need to go down to the level of countries, organisations and individuals, so they can see that they have been specifically targeted or caught up in the NSA's dragnet surveillance.''

On June 12, Snowden told the South China Morning Post that his position at the intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton had granted him ''access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked''.

He revealed specific institutions in Hong Kong and China, including universities, and telecommunications companies, that US intelligence had targeted.

Assange said more detailed disclosures would help people better understand the pervasive nature of US telecommunications and internet surveillance.

''Abuses can be hidden by secrecy but also by the complexity and the sheer scale of activity,'' he said.

Assange was critical of the decision by The Guardian and The Washington Post to redact many details from documents received from Snowden, and said WikiLeaks would probably adopt a different approach.

WikiLeaks has facilitated Snowden's travel from Hong Kong to Moscow where, it is believed, he remains at the international terminal of Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Assange has declined to say whether WikiLeaks has access to material leaked by Snowden. He also declined to comment further on Snowden's circumstances, saying: ''I can say nothing. We are not making any statements at this time because it all depends on negotiations with states.''

Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador, which on Thursday said it would renounce US trade benefits rather than have them used as ''blackmail'' to discourage it from granting him political asylum.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has indicated it could take two months for his government to decide on Snowden's application.

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On Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his government would ''almost certainly'' grant Snowden asylum if he applied.

''Political asylum ... is an international human rights institution to protect the persecuted,'' he said.

US President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would not engage in ''wheeling and dealing'' or jeopardise co-operation with China or Russia in pursuit of Snowden.

Assange did not expect Julia Gillard's removal as prime minister to make it any more likely the Australian government would intervene to help resolve his circumstances.

''I have personal experience of Kevin Rudd when he was foreign minister, and his behaviour was almost identical to that of Bob Carr, whose ignorance is only eclipsed by his arrogance,'' he said.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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