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EXCLUSIVE: Hacked documents reveal Ecuador’s failed attempt to apprehend NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Hackers have obtained data from the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow that revealed a wealth of documents and emails and discussions about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The more than 53 gigabytes of data that hackers allegedly affiliated with Anonymous have provided to the journalist collective DDoSecrets contains over 71,000 files, including scans of passports and personal information from visa applications.

The hack, which DDoSecrets does not want to publish due to the personal data it contains, also includes deportation orders for Ecuadorian citizens in Russia and around 30,607 emails from 2018 to March this year.

However, files in the data cache appear to be much older. Numerous documents from 2013 detail talks between Ecuador and Russia over the fate of Snowden, who is known to have leaked top-secret information about NSA surveillance activities after fleeing to Hong Kong that year.

“Anonymous’ first foray into the world of diplomacy gives us a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of an embassy and a glimpse into the interactions between the two countries, seen through the unique lens of embassy staff,” DDoSecrets co-founder Emma Best told the Daily Dot.

While Snowden was reportedly in transit to South America, Snowden’s passport was revoked by the US government, leaving him stranded at Moscow airport. He would later be granted asylum and a permanent residence permit.

One such document, dated June 24, 2013, shows Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility Galo Galarza asking Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for permission for Snowden’s safe passage to Ecuador.

Snowden’s passport had been withdrawn by the United States a day earlier.

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A translation of the document, written in Spanish, goes on to show that Galarza called on Lavrov to “take the necessary measures to establish coordination so that the rendition of citizen Edward Snowden … be carried out with the necessary safeguards of security and integrity … “.

Ecuador says such measures are necessary given its decision to “grant Snowden international protection”.

In a reply the same day, Russia acknowledged receipt of the request but requested further clarification of Ecuador’s legal position.

“The Department of Latin America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked for clarification, as soon as the content is known, to what Ecuador is referring to when it states its decision to grant ‘international protection,’ according to lawyers at the Russian Foreign Office, in international law there is no such category,” reads one translation.

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While it is unclear what further communications took place, Snowden’s continued presence in Russia shows that Ecuador’s plea was ultimately fruitless. The Daily Dot reached out to the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow for comment but received no response.

Ecuador had reportedly previously agreed to accept Snowden. However, it left him in limbo by publicly saying that his asylum application would only be considered if he made it to Ecuador, but he could not travel to Ecuador without a valid US passport, which had already been revoked.

However, these emails reveal that Ecuador at least made backchannel efforts to bring Snowden into the country.

During the negotiations, Ecuador also offered sanctuary to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London. That Guardian In late June 2013, it was reported that Ecuador invalidated a temporary travel document given to Snowden by the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The travel document had reportedly come at the behest of Assange. In leaked discussions, Ecuadorian diplomats cited frustration at the WikiLeaks founder’s actions, arguing that his efforts to sidestep the government’s work on Snowden made it seem like he was “running the show.”

Ecuador is believed to have helped bring Snowden from Hong Kong to Russia.

The hacked data emerged amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has led to an unprecedented campaign of hacktivism against private and public entities in Russia. In the first 10 weeks of the war alone, DDoSecrets released more than 10 million such documents provided by hackers.

EXCLUSIVE: Hacked documents reveal Ecuador’s failed attempt to apprehend NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden first appeared on The Daily Dot.

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/exclusive-hacked-documents-ecuadors-edward-snowden/ EXCLUSIVE: Hacked documents reveal Ecuador’s failed attempt to apprehend NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Jaclyn Diaz

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