US to Russia: Hand Over Snowden
NSA leaker is supposed to be Cuba-bound
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 4:10 AM CDT
Updated Jun 24, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
A banner supporting Edward Snowden is seen in central Hong Kong.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

(Newser) – Edward Snowden spent the night in Moscow's airport and was expected to fly to Cuba today—but American authorities are making it clear that they'd prefer that the NSA whistleblower was enjoying their hospitality instead. In a statement, the National Security Council said it expects Moscow to look at "all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the US to face justice" especially in light of "intensified cooperation after the Boston Marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters," CBS reports. But "intensified cooperation" may not be coming:

  • The Washington Post reports that a Russian official today told Interfax that Moscow doesn't have the legal authority to comply with the US government's request. Other officials add that air travelers who don't cross passport control aren't technically on Russian land; because Snowden is without a Russian visa, there's no way he could have gone through passport control. John Kerry is chiming in, adds the AP, calling it "deeply troubling" if Russia allows Snowden to flee.
  • But is Snowden actually Cuba-bound? The airline Aeroflot told the AP he was booked on a Moscow-Havana flight this morning (the expectation being he'd then travel to Venezuela and then to Ecuador, where WikiLeaks says he will seek asylum), prompting a number of journalists to grab seats on said flight. But Snowden apparently never boarded, reports Business Insider via an article with this headline: "Russia Just Punked a Bunch of Journalists Who Are Now On Their Way to Havana."
  • AP Moscow correspondent Max Seddon confirmed that there was no sign of Snowden, tweeting, "Cuba here we come. Taxiing down Sheremetevo runway and no sign of Snowden. Seats empty still by 17A."
  • How did Snowden get out of Hong Kong yesterday to begin with? Despite the Chinese territory's autonomy, the final decision came from Beijing, sources tell the New York Times. The move lets China save face while avoiding a drawn-out extradition battle.
  • Some legal experts are telling the New York Times the US government goofed in waiting until Saturday to revoke Snowden's passport, though charges were filed June 14. Says a former federal prosecutor, "They missed an opportunity to freeze him in place." Still, the Times notes that Snowden may have still been able to fly to Moscow sans passport thanks to special refugee travel documents from Ecuador that WikiLeaks helped Snowden obtain.

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Showing 3 of 143 comments
Witzelsucht
Jun 25, 2013 1:54 AM CDT
Many American college graduates cannot find proper work to match their skills and so must work demeaning minimum-wage jobs. Yet an American contractor for the NSA hired this naive high-school dropout and gave him access to sensitive security information along with a salary over $120,000 yearly. We must hope that the CIA captures and punishes this criminal, as well as the agency that hired him, before further damage is done. Many countries wish us harm. A United States that openly revealed its plans to all would not long remain great in this hostile world.
Libris_Fidelis
Jun 24, 2013 9:27 PM CDT
Erik Herrera posted a news photograph on another medium that said: "#SNOWDEN BUYS A PLANE TICKET FROM MOSCOW TO HAVANA. OVER 30 JOURNALISTS PAY LAST-MINUTE AIR FARE FOR A TICKET ON THE SAME FLIGHT THE DOORS SHUT, THE PLANE TAKES OFF, AND SNOWDEN IS NOT ON THE PLANE." NOW --- NOT counting the return trip lay-over and delays IN CUBA, it is a sixteen hour flight, and then the time of trying to get back !!!! Ah-h-h-h... but what if there was a CIA hit man among the reporters, sneaking aboard with either the intent of doing to Edward Snowden like what happened to Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy -- OR of kidnapping Eric Snowden to Guantanamo over on the corner of the island ???? Like I've been saying, I hope that Snowden's contacts and supporters know EXACTLY what they are doing because there will be a no-holds barred effort by our totally dishonest and tyrannical government because Snowden exposed the vicious disrespect for U.S. natizens that our government has had for more than one century! This is the anti-Democracy mafia mentality we are seeing from our government! BEWARE ALL OF US !!!!
MisterE
Jun 24, 2013 9:17 PM CDT
Like we can tell Russia anything! We couldn't stop China from letting him go either. We have no nuts to use any force on any first rate power, and they know it!