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The former government contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) documents, has left Hong Kong and flown to Moscow, according to several news reports.
Cuba here we come. Taxiing down Sheremetevo runway and no sign of Snowden. Seats empty still by 17A— max seddon (@maxseddon) June 24, 2013
Furthermore, Russia's Interfax news agency is reporting that Snowden is likely outside of Russia.
Before Snowden's no-show, Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary told Reuters: "Overall, we have no information about him."
Yesterday Snowden requested asylum in Ecuador.
CNN reports that the U.S. has revoked Snowden's passport , but their source did not specify when.
Snowden is accompanied by Sarah Harrison , who is the closest adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In August the Ecuadorian government granted Assange asylum in its London embassy.
Wikileaks has released a statement, which reads in part:
"Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives at his final destination his request will be formally processed."
WikiLeaks is equating the situations of Snowden and Assange as f ormer Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for Julian Assange, said Wikileaks is " interested in preserving Mr. Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people."
On Sunday there were reports that Snowden intended to fly to Cuba on Monday and then on to Caracas, Venezuela.
“He chose such a complex route in the hope that he will not be detained and he will be able to reach his final destination — Venezuela — unhindered,” a person "familiar with the situation" told Russia’s Interfax news service.
He could still travel to Venezuela on his way to Ecuador.
Snowden leaked the first concrete evidence of the NSA's domestic surveillance apparatus when he gave Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald “thousands” of documents. The documents have corroborated claims made by other whistleblowers.
Before his identity was revealed on June 9, the former CIA technician chose to flee to Hong Kong because he said it was a place "with the legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained."
On Friday the U.S. revealed it had filed three criminal charges against him and asked the Hong Kong police to detain Snowden under a joint extradition treaty.
Instead he decided to bolt for Russia while the request made its way through Hong Kong's convoluted extradition process.
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