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Venezuela, Nicaragua Offer Asylum to NSA Leaker Snowden

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Two Latin American nations are offering asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted in the United States for disclosing clandestine American surveillance programs.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Friday that he had decided to offer Snowden "humanitarian asylum" to protect him from U.S. "persecution."

Also Friday, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he would grant Snowden political asylum "if circumstances permit."

It is unclear how Snowden would be able to board a plane to either country. He is believed to be in the transit zone inside a Moscow airport and currently unable to leave because he has no travel documents.

Snowden has asked for asylum in more than a dozen countries. But the United States wants him back for revealing that the National Security Agency has collected the telephone records of American citizens.

The NSA says the information it has collected helped foil terrorist attacks. Snowden has said Americans should know their government has them under surveillance.

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