Eric Connon


On June 9, 2013, the public discovered the source of the earthshattering stories revealing the full extent of the United States intelligence-gathering apparatus. Edward Snowden allowed the publi-cation of his name and background at his own request because, as he claimed, “I know I have done nothing wrong.” This was the first public stage of the odyssey of Edward Snowden, whose quest for asylum or refugee status carried him from Hong Kong to a Moscow airport where, after failing to obtain secure passage to Latin American destinations, he was eventually granted asylum in Russia. Snowden found himself in a relative legal limbo, unable to gain asylum from most countries or safely access those countries that considered offering it. This Note analyzes the protection afforded under current international asylum and refugee law to intelligence community employees who leak information exposing perceived government misconduct. It also examines and considers the merits of possible means for improvement. While intelli-gence community whistleblowers may qualify as refugees or asylees based upon the political nature of their actions, the legal framework does not adequately address the situation in a consistent fashion. Alter-ations can and should be made to international refugee and asylum law, which would better protect good-faith intelligence community whistle-blowers who expose government misconduct.