Snowden Asks Ecuador for Asylum – Foreign Minister


Ecuador’s foreign minister said Sunday on Twitter that Edward Snowden, a former US intelligence contractor wanted by the United States for revealing a highly classified surveillance program, had requested asylum in Ecuador.


U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden

U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.© REUTERS/  Courtesy of The Guardian/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras

 “The government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. Snowden,” Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca wrote on his Twitter page.

Snowden, 30, left Hong Kong on Sunday, a day after the United States  formally requested his extradition. A passenger who was on an Aeroflot  flight that Snowden is believed to have taken to Moscow told RIA Novosti  that Snowden had gotten into a car with diplomatic plates on the tarmac  at Sheremetyevo Airport.

However, media reports cited airport officials as saying that Snowden  would not be allowed to leave the premises because he did not have a  Russian visa and would therefore only be able to fly to a third  destination.

Anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which has released thousands of  classified US government messages, said Sunday in a statement that  Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the  purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal  advisors from WikiLeaks.”

That organization’s founder, Julian Assange, has been staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than a year.

Snowden, who worked for US defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, hit the media spotlight in early June after he leaked to the press information about a US government surveillance program that allegedly monitored phone and electronic conversations of millions of Americans.


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