By Michael Pearson
Please, Mr. President, don't leave me behind.
That's the gist of former U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross' plea to President Barack Obama in a letter on the fourth anniversary of Gross' imprisonment in a small military prison cell in Cuba.
In the letter, Gross - convicted by a Cuban court of "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state" - says he spends 23 hours a day in a small cell with two other inmates, is in poor health and is largely cut off from the outside world.
"With the utmost respect, Mr. President, I fear that my government - the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare - has abandoned me," wrote Gross, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. "Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home."FULL STORY
By Michael Pearson, Matt Smith and Jethro Mullen
Edward Snowden's hopes of finding asylum from U.S. prosecution on espionage charges appeared to dim Tuesday as country after country denied his request or said he would have to find a way to travel to their territory to apply.
While Bolivia and Venezuela seemed supportive, 11 of the 21 countries he's applied to, including Ecuador and Iceland, have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three have denied the request outright - Brazil, India and Poland.
Snowden had already withdrawn his asylum request with Russian authorities after President Vladimir Putin said he would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners" if he wanted to stay in the country.FULL STORY
By Josh Levs, Jethro Mullen and Michael Pearson
Edward Snowden may have no trouble staying longer in a Russian airport, and Ecuador wants the United States to argue in writing why he should not be given political asylum, the two countries said Wednesday.
The Ecuadorian government also took a swipe at Washington, rejecting what it called false and "detrimental" claims the U.S. government has made about Ecuador.
Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked U.S. surveillance secrets, is in the transit area, between arrival gates and passport checkpoints, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described Snowden Tuesday as a "free man."FULL STORY
By Michael Pearson and Moni Basu
A Marine Corps board has recommended that a politically active Marine sergeant who questioned President Barack Obama's authority be dismissed from service with an "other than honorable" discharge.
Sgt. Gary Stein, who posted anti-Obama comments on his Facebook page, stands accused of violating a catch-all military justice provision against conduct endangering "good order and discipline."
He is also accused of violating a Department of Defense policy limiting the political activities of service members.