Snowden Faces Extradition From Hong Kong But Has Already Fled

Elaine Radford


Wikileaks has now confirmed in a statement that Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Ecuador.


Edward Snowden has landed in Moscow, where he is not allowed to leave the airport because he doesn't hold a Russian visa. There is some circumstantial evidence being posted by that he may be meeting with diplomats from Ecuador to arrange for asylum there.


International news source Interfax is now reporting that Edward Snowden is fleeing extradition on a ticket that will take him from Moscow, Russia to Havana, Cuba and then Caracas, Venezuela.


Edward Snowden faces extradition from Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous city from the larger mainland Chinese government. On Friday, the US Department of Justice unsealed the criminal charges against Snowden and noted that if Hong Kong refused to extradite him, it could cause stress in relations between the powerful city and the United States.

However, there's a new report that Snowden has already fled to Russia where he may catch a connecting flight to a third country. Wikileaks's official Twitter said that they are helping him, and I have posted some of those tweets down below.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told CBS News: "We believe that the charges presented present a good case for extradition under the...extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong."

As Robert Jonathan reported yesterday, Edward Snowden has now been charged with three crimes related to his leak of classified information -- two of them under the 1917 Espionage Act. The criminal complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia where Snowden's last employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is located.

The Washington Post has now placed the criminal complaint online. It was signed on June 14, so apparently officials were working behind the scenes for a few days to try to resolve the Edward Snowden extradition mess more quietly.

After WaPo floated a rumor about the court filing, the Justice Department ultimately decided to unseal it on Friday.

Now, a terse report in South China Morning Post said Sunday that Edward Snowden is on an Aeroflot plane that connects in Moscow. Hong Kong provided a statement to the Asian news souce that said the US extradition paperwork didn't fully comply with Hong Kong law, so the authorities had no choice but to allow him to board the flight.

A more extensive report from WaPo described the process of traveling via Moscow without a Russian visa to make connections in Iceland or Ecuador, two likely destinations for Snowden.

Wikileaks activist Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year to fight extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden on what many believe to be trumped-up sex charges. Ecuador has granted him asylum but he has been unable to make the journey through London from the embassy to the airport in order to catch a plane to that country.

The short version is for Edward Snowden is that it will be faster and easier to get to Iceland. However, for financial reasons, Ecuador would seemingly make a far more practical destination if Snowden can never return to the United States as a free man.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 23, 2013

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 23, 2013

Are you surprised that in the face of extradition, Snowden fled Hong Kong?