Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who is now a fugitive, is said to still be on the ground in Moscow, after absconding there from Hong Kong Sunday. Reports had said that Snowden was preparing to fly to another country, possibly Cuba, but a daily flight to Havana left Moscow without Snowden aboard.
Other destinations Snowden is thought to be planning to take refuge in include Iceland and Ecuador. Iceland does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., while Ecuador's leader Rafael Correa is an outspoken critic of U.S. “imperialism,” and is an ally of Cuba. Ecuador's foreign ministry said Monday that Snowden had applied for asylum, and that the government was “strongly considering” the request.
Meanwhile, Snowden is still apparently in Russia – and the United States is demanding that Moscow put him on a plane to the U.S., where he would face charges on a range of crimes, from data theft to, possibly, espionage.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the U.S. assumes that Snowden is still in Russia and that Washington “does expect the Russian government to look at all the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States.” That Hong Kong and China allowed Snowden to leave would have a “negative impact” on those countries' relations with the U.S. “If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition responsibilities, then that is a problem,” Carney said.
Russia, for its part, has remained mum on Snowden's actual location, saying that they had no clue as to his current location. A Russian government official was quoted as saying that his government had “no information” about Snowden's whereabouts.