HONG KONG The Hong Kong government says a former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the U.S. for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has left for a “third country.”
The South China Morning Post reported Sunday that Edward Snowden was on a plane for Moscow, but that Russia was not his final destination. Snowden has talked of seeking asylum in Iceland.
The New York Times, however, reports that a Moscow-based reservations agent at Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, said Snowden arrived in Moscow on a one-way ticket. The agent cautioned, however, that Snowden may have another reservation on a separate airline.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Reuters on Sunday that he was unaware of the location or plans of Snowden.
The official WikiLeaks twitter account claimed it had helped Snowden leave Hong Kong.
The third country may be Cuba, according to a report from the Voice Of Russia:
The police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport don’t plan to detain former CIA employee Edward Snowden when he arrives in Moscow.
“We have not received any instructions concerning this person, however, in order to enter Russian territory he should have a valid visa,” Interfax was told at the police unit of the airport.
A source with the Aeroflot airlines confirmed that the a man named Snowden was listed among passengers of Flight Su213 bound for Moscow. According to the source, the same passenger is to leave for Cuba on June 24 aboard Aeroflot Flight SU150.
Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee charged with espionage in the United States, is flying to Cuba via Moscow, a source close to Snowden said.
“He has departed on a direct flight for Moscow and will be there in the evening. But he will not stay in Moscow long. He discussed an option of further transit to Cuba,” the source added.
However, Snowden will decide himself on his ultimate destination.
The South China Post is reporting:
“A passenger under that name will arrive in Moscow from Hong Kong today on flight SU213, and tomorrow, on June 24, he will fly to Havana on flight SU150,” the state news agency ITAR-Tass quoted a source at the airline as saying. “Also tomorrow, he will go to Caracas from Havana on a local flight.”
The Hong Kong government said it had notified the US government about Snowden’s departure.
He is being accompanied allegedly by WikiLeaks advisers:
Snowden is accompanied WikiLeaks legal advisers, the group said.
According to a Moscow-based reservations agent contacted by the New York Times, Snowden is traveling with one other person, who was identified by only the last name Harrison. The companion is believed to be Sarah Harrison, a spokeswoman for WikiLeaks and assistant to Assange.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 23, 2013
— RT (@RT_com) June 23, 2013
— Mohit Kumar (@unix_root) June 23, 2013
In case, it needs be stated, Ecuador was the country that gave Julian Assange asylum. This whole current voyage appears to have been orchestrated by WikiLeaks. as he is traveling in the company of WikiLeaks advisers.
@BBCWorld interesting 1 car took his belongings, once Snowden landed in Moscow, another car took him to undisclosed place. Venezuela next.
— Charlie (@NiceIcePrincess) June 23, 2013
This report just came from Face The Nation. Why split Snowden from his belongings? Unless you wanted to take time to search his things…
WikiLeaks has confirmed that Edward Snowden would seek asylum in Ecuador:
The anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks said Sunday it is helping Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secrets about the federal government’s surveillance program, to seek asylum in Ecuador.
In a statement released Sunday, WikiLeaks said Snowden left Hong Kong legally and is “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister sent out a message on Twitter that appears to confirm the WikiLeaks statement, saying the government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Snowden.
WikiLeaks also said Snowden is traveling with diplomats and legal advisors from the group.
Snowden’s U.S. passport has been revoked:
The former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a highly classified surveillance program has had his U.S. passport revoked.
A U.S. official on Sunday said Edward Snowden’s passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia. Snowden’s travel plans could be complicated – but not thwarted – by a lack of passport. The U.S. official said that if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport.
The former contractor is said to be in Moscow and his allies at anti-secrecy WikiLeaks say Snowden is bound for Ecuador. The foreign minister there says he has requested asylum.
The U.S. official would only discuss the passport on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter.