As of Monday morning June 24, Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown despite an international effort to track him down. His final destination was also uncertain, with reports of Ecuador, Venezuela, or even Cuba being his target to escape prosecution for blowing the whistle on the National Security Agency (NSA).
Following his release of information on the NSA’s surveillance of phone calls and e-mails of citizens and government officials worldwide, Snowden headed for Hong Kong on May 20, where he holed up in an unknown location. When three felony charges were levied against him on June 14 (for theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and the willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person), he communicated with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks for assistance.
It is presumed that Assange, living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, recommended that Snowden request asylum in Ecuador. When Hong Kong began to receive pressure from the U.S. government to extradite Snowden, orders came down from Beijing to urge Snowden to leave immediately. He flew to Moscow where he was met by an associate of Assange’s, Sarah Harrison. They scheduled themselves onto Aeroflot flight SU150 (shown) to leave Monday morning but when the flight left, neither Snowden nor Harrison were on it.
In a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, Assange assured observers that Snowden is “healthy and safe” somewhere in Russia while he is waiting for a response to his request for asylum to Ecuador. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters that Snowden’s request would be considered “in the shortest time possible.” Since his passport has been revoked, Snowden is unable to leave the Sheremetyevo airport so it is further presumed that he is hiding there until his request is granted.
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Photo of Aeroflot Airbus A330 that Snowden was scheduled to take out of Moscow: AP Images