Venezuela is the "most likely" asylum choice for former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the journalist who published the contents of the self-declared leaker's classified documents said Tuesday.
In an interview with Reuters shortly after speaking to Snowden by online chat on Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald said that Venezuela—one of three Latin American countries that have offered Snowden asylum—is the one most likely to guarantee his safety.
Nicaragua and Bolivia have also said they would accept Snowden but Venezuela is better poised "to get him safely from Moscow to Latin America and to protect him once he's there," Greenwald told Reuters. "They're a bigger country, a stronger country and a richer country with more leverage in international affairs."
Snowden, 30, is believed to be holed up in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport from where he has applied for asylum in more than 20 countries in a bid to avoid extradition to the U.S.
Even if Snowden agrees an asylum deal with Venezuela, travel problems could take time to resolve: His U.S. passport has been canceled and U.S. allies may deny airspace to any flight on which he is believed to be traveling.
Greenwald, a blogger and columnist for the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, told Reuters he based his opinion on an "informed guess" after recent contacts with Snowden.
Greenwald added that a resolution to Snowden's situation could take "days or hours or weeks."
He was speaking from his home in Rio de Janeiro, having returned there from Hong Kong where he worked alongside Snowden, publishing reports that disclosed the vast scale of surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency on the telephone records of U.S. citizens.
Greenwald told Reuters that Snowden had Internet access in the airport transit zone—a diplomatic no man's land—and had been able to communicate with those seeking to help him.
He said Snowden's task was "figuring out how to get to the country that has offered him asylum" without coming within reach of the U.S., which Greenwald characterized as "the rogue, lawless empire that has proven itself willing to engage in rogue behavior to prevent him physically from getting there."
Venezuela confirmed Monday it had received Snowden's asylum request, but had no more information on whether a deal had been reached.