NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden left Hong Kong this morning on a flight bound for Moscow. Snowden's departure was apparently aided by Wikileaks, which posted a statement regarding Snowden's "safe exit from Hong Kong" on its Twitter early this morning.
[UPDATE: Snowden has apparently landed in Moscow and is next headed to Ecuador, where he hopes to receive asylum. Ecuador's foreign minister confirmed that the South American country (which is sheltering Wikileaks' Julian Assange in its London embassy) has already received an application from Snowden.]
According to news reports, Snowden — who was charged with espionage on Friday afternoon — is also booked on a flight from Moscow to Cuba that leaves tomorrow. From there, he may fly on to Caracas, Venezuela, or even Iceland or Ecuador, the country currently sheltering Wikileak's Julian Assange. Wikileaks has said only that it is aiding Snowden at his request, that Snowden has made it to Russian airspace, and that Snowden is headed for a "democratic nation via a safe route for the purpose of asylum."
According to the Washington Post, there are direct flights from Moscow to Cuba daily. A flight to Ecuador out of Cuba leaves Friday. The next flight from Moscow to Iceland is on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Washington Post reports that Hong Kong has been politely delaying American authorities. When the U.S. government sent documents requesting Snowden be arrested, they asked for additional information, claiming that the warrant “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law." As such, Hong Kong authorities have said, they had no legal recourse to prevent Snowden from leaving the country. The Hong Kong government did alert the U.S. that Snowden had left.
The Hong Kong government has also asked the U.S. for clarification regarding allegations that the N.S.A. and other agencies have hacked Hong Kong systems.
[TWP, photo via Getty]