'Italy to decide soon' on Snowden asylum appeal

NSA leaker wanted in U.S. for espionage

'Italy to decide soon' on Snowden asylum appeal

Rome, July 2 - The Italian government "is evaluating the situation and will decide very soon" on the case of former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and his request for asylum, sources at the foreign ministry told ANSA Tuesday. Sources told ANSA earlier Tuesday that the Italian embassy in Moscow had received an asylum appeal from Snowden, who last month revealed a wide-reaching US government surveillance program of phone and internet records. WikiLeaks reported that Snowden has appealed for political asylum from 21 different countries including Italy. The asylum requests were filed from the Moscow airport where he flew from Hong Kong after abandoning his job in Hawaii in May. On Monday, Italy demanded answers from the United States after allegations surfaced in the media that it spied on the diplomatic offices of the European Union and several countries, including Italy. The allegations were partly based on Snowden's revelations. He is wanted in the United States for espionage. Earlier Tuesday the head of parliament's COPASIR secret service commission, Giacomo Stucchi, denied suspicions that Italy had unlawfully complied with the US spy program. "There was no illegal exchange of Italian data with the United States," said Stucchi in a hearing with Italy's Security Intelligence Department (DIS) chief Giampiero Massolo. "Everything happened in accordance with the laws on the books. "There was no illegal 'big brother'".

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