Edward Snowden checked out of his hotel in Hong Kong yesterday and has essentially disappeared. And while he is believed to still be in the territory, Russia has suggested it might welcome the man who exposed the NSA's secret surveillance, the Wall Street Journal reports. If a request for asylum is received, "it will be considered," the Kremlin's chief spokesman says. The head of a Russian foreign affairs committee called the former CIA employee a human rights activist—and predicted "hysteria" in the US if Moscow decided to grant him refuge. In other developments:
- There are more explosive stories to come from Snowden's leak, according to Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. "We are going to have a lot more significant revelations that have not yet been heard over the next several weeks and months," Greenwald tells the AP, "and we intend to pursue every last one of them."
- A quirky tidbit from the New York Times on how Greenwald's meeting with Snowden went down. He (along with a colleague and documentarian) were to enter Snowden's hotel and ask for directions; if Snowden felt comfortable, he would walk past them carrying a Rubik's Cube—and that's exactly how it happened.
- Bloomberg dug extensively through Snowden's background and found little to suggest he would become one of the biggest whistleblowers in US history. Snowden, whose father retired from the Coast Guard a few years ago, never finished high school and spent a few years living alone in a Maryland condo where neighbors described him as "serious" and "studious."
- Snowden was apparently a Ron Paul supporter, but the feeling is mutual. On Piers Morgan Live, Paul last night said Snowden has "done a great service"—and deserves a thank-you letter from President Obama. "The president ran on transparency, we're getting a lot of transparency now."
- What Snowden will likely get instead: charged, and soon. Two officials tell ABC News the Justice Department is hustling to file criminal charges and try to get Snowden back on US soil.
- Snowden's exposé is also causing international headaches for Obama, the Guardian reports. Angela Merkel plans to grill Obama on NSA surveillance of European communications when they meet next week, and the European Commission chief has also promised to get answers from US officials.
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