Snowden not on plane going to Ecuador - WFLA News Channel 8

Snowden not on plane going to Ecuador

Posted: Updated:

A plane took off from Moscow Monday headed for Cuba, but the seat booked by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was empty, and there was no sign of him elsewhere on board.    

An Aeroflot representative who wouldn't give her name told The Associated Press that Snowden wasn't on flight SU150 to Havana. AP reporters on the flight couldn't him.        

The Interfax news agency also quoted an unidentified Russian security source in Moscow as saying that Snowden wasn't on the plane.    

The airline said earlier Snowden registered for the flight using his U.S. passport, which American officials say has been annulled.      

Snowden arrived in Moscow on Sunday from Hong Kong, where he had been hiding for several weeks to evade U.S. justice. Ecuador is considering Snowden's asylum application.    

After spending a night in Moscow's airport, the former National Security Agency contractor - and admitted leaker of state secrets - had been expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.

Snowden, also a former CIA technician, fled Hong Kong to dodge U.S. efforts to extradite him on espionage charges. Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his government had received an asylum request, adding Monday that the decision "has to do with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world." The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks also said it would help Snowden.       

Ecuador has rejected the United States' previous efforts at cooperation, and has been helping WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange avoid prosecution by allowing him to stay at its embassy in London.       

Snowden gave documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers disclosing U.S. surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of phone records and online data in the name of foreign intelligence, often sweeping up information on American citizens. Officials have the ability to collect phone and Internet information broadly but need a warrant to examine specific cases where they believe terrorism is involved.       

Snowden had been in hiding for several weeks in Hong Kong, a former British colony with a high degree of autonomy from mainland China. The United States formally sought Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong to face espionage charges but was rebuffed; Hong Kong officials said the U.S. request did not fully comply with their laws.      

The Justice Department rejected that claim, saying its request met all of the requirements of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hong Kong. During conversations last week, including a phone call Wednesday between Attorney General Eric Holder and Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong officials never raised any issues regarding sufficiency of the U.S. request, a Justice representative said.     

The United States was in touch through diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries that Snowden could travel through or to, reminding them that Snowden is wanted on criminal charges and reiterating Washington's position that Snowden should only be permitted to travel back to the U.S., a State Department official said. Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked.      

U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.     

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said, "Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters - including returning numerous high-level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government - we expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged."   

Still, the United States is likely to have problems interrupting Snowden's passage. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, but does with Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador. Even with an extradition agreement though, any country could give Snowden a political exemption.  

The likelihood that any of these countries would stop Snowden from traveling on to Ecuador seemed remote. While diplomatic tensions have thawed in recent years, Cuba and the United States are hardly allies after a half-century of distrust. Another country that could see Snowden pass through, Venezuela, could prove difficult, as well. Former President Hugo Chavez was a sworn enemy of the United States and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, earlier this year called President Barack Obama "grand chief of devils." The two countries do not exchange ambassadors.   

Snowden's options aren't numerous, said Assange's lawyer, Michael Ratner.      

"You have to have a country that's going to stand up to the United States," Ratner said. "You're not talking about a huge range of countries here."   

It also wasn't clear Snowden was finished disclosing highly classified information.    

Snowden has perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Follow us on TWITTER at @wfla

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:59:51 GMT
    The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
  • Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:46:44 GMT
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
  • Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:04:56 GMT
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.