NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Laura Poitras/Praxis Films
A letter sent to Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 27 June 2013 asked Norwegian officials to arrest Snowden if he entered the country. At the time, the NSA whistleblower was stranded at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport waiting for Russia to grant him asylum.
The note reads: “We request that should US citizen Edward J. Snowden attempt to enter Norway through any means, the Government of Norway notify the Embassy immediately and effectuate the return of Mr. Snowden to the United States by way of denial of entry, deportation, expulsion or other lawful means”.
The FBI’s sent another letter out of the US Embassy in Copenhagen on the same day to the Danish National Police and the justice authorities of Norway, Sweden and Finland, describing Snowden as a criminal on the run and asking them to notify them should Snowden book a flight to one of their countries.
“The FBI requests that your service immediately notify the necessary and applicable agencies of the below information in the event thal Snowden should board a flight from Moscow to one of your respective countries for either transit purposes or as a final destination,” that letter read.
On July 4, the Norwegian Department of Foreign Affairs received another note, a formal request for the arrest and extradition of Snowden should he enter Norwegian territory.
“The United States urges that Snowden be kept in custody, if arrested,” the note reads.
Snowden’s lawyer Ben Wizner told NRK that the most worrying aspect of he documents was the US’s pressure on Denmark, Norway and presumably other countries to arrest Snowden and extradite him, before he had had a chance to apply for asylum.
“What is troubling to me is the suggestion that if Mr Snowden showed up in one of these countries, he should be promptly extradited – before he would have a chance to raise his humanitarian rights under international law,” he said.
According to the Justice and Foreign Affairs departments, Norway has not responded to the US requests.