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NSA Leaker Snowden’s Whereabouts Unknown

Edward Snowden
• June 24, 2013 10:00 am

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Flight attendants on an airplane bound for Havana said NSA leaker Edward Snowden was not on board despite Russian reports that he had been booked for a flight from Moscow to Cuba, the Wall Street Journal reported.

No one was sitting in a seat that Russian news outlets had said was booked under Mr. Snowden's name, and no one who looked like Mr. Snowden could be spotted on board the flight in either the economy or business-class cabins. The plane soon taxied down the runway and took off for Cuba.

The situation deepened a mystery around Mr. Snowden's whereabouts that kicked off Sunday after government officials in Hong Kong announced that Mr. Snowden had flown out of the country. The antisecrecy group WikiLeaks soon released a statement on its Twitter account saying that it was helping Mr. Snowden achieve safety in a "democratic country." The group said on its Twitter feed Sunday that Mr. Snowden had landed in Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU 213 from Hong Kong.

Hours later, Ecuador's foreign minister released a statement on Twitter saying Mr. Snowden had submitted a request to the Ecuadorian government for asylum. Diplomatic cars from Ecuador's embassy in Russia then showed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, and a spokeswoman for the airport confirmed that Mr. Snowden was on the premises in the transit zone. But Mr. Snowden wasn't spotted in the airport, and no images or footage of him leaving the flight from Hong Kong surfaced in the public domain. Passengers on the flight said some cars had met the airplane on the tarmac, leading to speculation that Mr. Snowden had been escorted off the flight privately.

The United States has demanded foreign governments aid in the apprehension of Snowden.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it would be "very disappointing" if Hong Kong or Russia had advance knowledge of Snowden’s travel plans, according to the Journal.

Russia said earlier Monday that it would not intervene in the case.

Published under: Cuba, Ecuador, Edward Snowden, Russia