Edward Snowden

Despite Its Civil Liberties Record, Ecuador Is a Logical Refuge for Snowden

Because they won't just hand him to the feds

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As he talks to reporters and manages his WikiLeaks network, Australia-born Julian Assange is holed up in London's Ecuadorian embassy. Just last week, the country confirmed that Assange could continue to live there, avoiding extradition to Sweden. This announcement was made, naturally, by Ecuador's foreign minister. The country isn't exactly squeamish about its work in this area, and WikiLeaks enjoys a good working relationship with it, so it makes sense that Edward Snowden is asking Ecuador for asylum.

But why Ecuador? First, the country has an enviably loopholed extradition treaty with the United States. Outlaws wanted for offenses "of a political character" can dodge extradition. The oh-so-bright American senators who rushed to call Snowden a "traitor" have certainly created the impression that Snowden is wanted for political reasons, and in his interviews he's happy to reinforce this.