Re: Come on you lot...
"Either of committing a criminal offense in one country or indeed in this case committing a criminal offense against your country and then dodging out before you can be charged doesn't qualify for Asylum."
1. That's a legalistic view of how countries decide if asylum applies but if a word has a strict legal definition as well as a general use correct use of a word is not determined by strict legal definition.
2. Even if we accept a strictly legal definition of the word, it can be argued Snowden is the US of A's first political dissident.
By definition a dissident is someone who challenges, doctrines or policies of a state that are (most usually) perceived to be against the interest of the people. For this reason, it should not be possible for democracies to have dissidents and (on this basis) it can be argued Snowden is simply a criminal. However taking the logical conclusion presented by Lawrence Lessig in his book Republic Lost, there is now a strong and forensically documented argument the US Democratic process has been so far corrupted, it no longer adequately represents the tone of the American people - especially in matters of military and national security.
Snowden's actions directly talk to the kind of corruption Lessig documents. So on this basis Snowden is the US of A's first political dissident, cannot expect a fair trial, and such should be eligible for Asylum.
For a fascinating abridged version of Lessig's argument, see his TED talk on Lesterville. The points he raises are not party political and should be a concern for all people of all colours on the political spectrum.