NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s US passport has been revoked, according to several news organizations. While the United States has not confirmed the information, it is not a surprising move.
Snowden made his escape from Hong Kong on Sunday, where US authorities were working with the government to extradite the whistleblower back to his home country.
The former National Security Administration contractor was also charged on Saturday with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”
While federal prosecutors filed the criminal complaint, the United States asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant. But all did not go as planned.
Edward Snowden was flown out of Hong Kong on Sunday “through a lawful and normal channel,” according to a statement by the country’s government. The whistleblower touched down in Moscow, Russia, with the help of WikiLeaks. But Russia isn’t expected to be Snowden’s final destination.
Despite a lack of passport, Edward Snowden is apparently seeking political asylum in Ecuador. According to a statement by WikiLeaks, the former NSA contractor “is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”
The statement added the Snowden “is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.” The escape of Edward Snowden was surprising for US authorities, especially considering his passport was revoked. While the whistleblower’s lack of passport will certainly hamper his escape, his travel plans can still go as planned.
If a senior official in a country or airline has ordered it, a country can overlook the fact that Edward Snowden’s passport was withdrawn. That is likely the case with Snowden, considering he is seeking political asylum.
It is not yet clear how long Snowden will stay in Moscow, though the United States is actively trying to have him stopped there.