STOCKHOLM — A WikiLeaks spokesman who represents Edward Snowden has reached out to government officials in Iceland about the NSA leaker applying for asylum in the Nordic country, officials there said Wednesday.
Johannes Skulason, an Icelandic government official, said that WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson had held informal talks with assistants at the Interior Ministry and the prime minister’s office.
Skulason said Hrafnsson “presented his case that he was in contact with Snowden and wanted to see what the legal framework was like.”
Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson told reporters earlier Wednesday in Sweden that there had been no formal discussions on the matter. To apply for asylum, Snowden must be on Icelandic soil.
Hrafnsson said he had talked to an intermediary who he was “100 percent sure represents Mr. Snowden,” but declined to identify the intermediary.
Hrafnsson said he had met with people at the Icelandic ministries and reported back to his contact, but could not give any more details about when or how Snowden would possibly travel to Iceland.
In an interview published shortly after he outed himself as the source behind reports on the US spy agency’s online surveillance programs, Snowden floated the idea of heading to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. He told the Guardian newspaper that he was inclined to seek asylum in a country that shared his values — and “the nation that most encompasses this is Iceland.”
Snowden, who used to live in Hawaii, initially fled to Hong Kong and is now in hiding.
It is not clear whether Iceland could protect a leaker like Snowden from US demands for his return.
Iceland has a longstanding extradition treaty with the United States, though it has never been used to deport a US citizen.
Instead, the small island nation has a tradition of providing a haven for the outspoken and the outcast, and has previously welcomed eccentric chess master Bobby Fischer and WikiLeaks secret-spiller Julian Assange.