KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
People look the passenger plane, flight SU 150 to Havana, docking to a boarding bridge at the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport on June 24, 2013. US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was set to fly out of Russia today by flight SU 150 to Havana to seek asylum in Ecuador, as Washington demanded Moscow hand over the fugitive to face espionage charges at home.
Journalists aboard a flight from Moscow to Havana were disappointed to find that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was not aboard, despite reports that he had checked in on the flight, ostensibly en route to Ecuador or Venezuela. In fact no one has even confirmed seeing Snowden in Moscow, where he should be confined because he lacks a Russian Visa. We know thus far that Snowden has requested asylum in both Venezuela and Ecuador, and the Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño has publicly indicated that the country might honor the request. We know that on Sunday Snowden left Hong Kong headed for Moscow.
At this point Russian officials are resisting White House pressure to arrest Snowden and help the U.S. bring him home to face charges of espionage. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is livid over Russia’s lack of cooperation, as well as how Hong Kong allowed Snowden to leave freely rather than cooperating with the White House’s formal extradition request.
So where is Snowden headed, and does the U.S. have any power to stop him?
Ken Dilanian, Intelligence and national security reporter for Los Angeles Times in Washington