Edward Snowden flees Hong Kong for Venezuela — via Russia and Cuba

By David Edwards
Sunday, June 23, 2013 9:47 EDT
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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has fled Hong Kong with the ultimate intentions of reaching Venezuela, a Russian airline source told Reuters on Sunday.

The South China Morning Post reported on Sunday that Snowden had left Hong Kong on a commercial flight to Moscow. From there, he is expected to travel to Cuba and then Venezuela, a Russian airline source said.

“Snowden left Hong Kong on his own will,” a Hong Kong government official told the South China Morning Post.

A statement from WikiLeaks confirmed that Snowden was “bound for a democratic nation via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”

“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” Wikileaks legal director Baltasar Garzon said. “What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people.”

The U.S. has used the Espionage Act to charge Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and the willful communication of classified intelligence.

Hong Kong authorities reportedly let Snowden leave the country after saying that an extradition request from the U.S. was not in full compliance with the country’s laws.

“I don’t think he’s a hero,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News on Sunday. “He compromised a national security program designed to find out what terrorists are up to. So, the freedom trail is not exactly China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela.”

“So, I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the Earth and let the Russians know there will be consequences if they harbor this guy,” Graham added.

Update (12:55 p.m. ET): AFP reports that Snowden has requested asylum from the government of Ecuador.

Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, broadcast June 23, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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