Ecuador Considering Asylum for Snowden; China Approved Snowden Flight to Moscow; US Strong-Arming Russia to Give Him Up

Photo Credit: Newsmax

Photo Credit: Newsmax

Ecuador Confirms Snowden Asylum Request; Ambassador to Meet US Fugitive

By Newsmax. Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Ecuador, the Quito government said on Sunday, after Hong Kong let him leave for Russia despite Washington’s efforts to extradite him on espionage charges.

In a major embarrassment for the Obama administration, an aircraft thought to have been carrying Snowden landed in Moscow, and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, visiting Vietnam, tweeted: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”

The United States warned countries in the Western Hemisphere that Snowden might travel through or take refuge in not to let the former spy agency contractor go anywhere but home, a State Department official said on Sunday.

“The U.S. is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” the official said in a written statement. Read more from this story HERE.


China Said to Have Made Call to Let Leaker Depart

By Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher. The Chinese government made the final decision to allow Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, to leave Hong Kong on Sunday, a move that Beijing believed resolved a tough diplomatic problem even as it reaped a publicity windfall from Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, according to people familiar with the situation.

Hong Kong authorities have insisted that their judicial process remained independent of China, but these observers — who like many in this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely about confidential discussions — said that matters of foreign policy are the domain of the Chinese government, and Beijing exercised that authority in allowing Mr. Snowden to go.

From China’s point of view, analysts said, the departure of Mr. Snowden solved two concerns: how to prevent Beijing’s relationship with the United States from being ensnared in a long legal wrangle in Hong Kong over Mr. Snowden, and how to deal with a Chinese public that widely regards the American computer expert as a hero.

“Behind the door there was definitely some coordination between Hong Kong and Beijing,” said Jin Canrong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

Beijing’s chief concern was the stability of the relationship with the United States, which the Chinese believed had been placed on a surer footing during the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Obama at the Sunnylands estate in California this month, said Mr. Jin and a person knowledgeable about the Hong Kong government’s handling of Mr. Snowden. Read more from this story HERE.


Subtitle: US Strong-Arming Russia to Give Up Snowden

By Jethro Mullen. The United States is caught up in an intercontinental game of cat-and-mouse with Edward Snowden, the computer contractor who exposed details of secret U.S. surveillance programs.

As Snowden tries to hop from country to country, with help from the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, the United States has resorted to issuing stern words calling for his return.

Hong Kong, where Snowden had been holed up for weeks, allowed him to leave for Moscow on Sunday, despite a U.S. extradition request.

Next, he plans to travel to Ecuador to seek asylum, according to WikiLeaks, which is helping him attempt to stay out of Washington’s reach.

At the same time, the U.S. government is attempting to block his path, calling on the countries involved to hand him over. But its clout appears limited, with Snowden expected to travel through a series of nations that have little reason to heed its request. Read more from this story HERE.


MAN ON THE RUN: US Lawmakers Warn Potential Snowden Havens

By Fox News. Washington lawmakers rebuked American fugitive Edward Snowden for fleeing Hong Kong to avoid U.S. extradition efforts after exposing U.S. surveillance secrets, with Sen. Chuck Schumer warning about Russia providing safe haven.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to cooperate and appears “eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States” on several pressing, international concerns, including the Syrian civil war.

“That’s not how allies are supposed to treat each other, and it will have consequences,” he said.

Snowden was a National Security Agency contractor whose information was the basis of the blockbuster stories that broke early this month on the federal government’s widespread data collection on phone calls, emails and other Internet activities.

The international incident took another dramatic turn early Sunday morning when Snowden boarded a commercial flight to Russia from Hong Kong, where he has been hiding. Russian news agencies reported Snowden was booked on a flight to Cuba Monday, and he is seeking asylum in Ecuador. Read more from this story HERE.


On Snowden’s trip, no good options for Obama

By Reid J. Epstein. Edward Snowden’s globe-trotting is the latest international headache for President Barack Obama, with no relief in sight.

The former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents about top secret electronic surveillance programs is in Russia and headed to Latin America — where options for bringing him back to the United States to face charges range from highly unlikely to virtually nonexistent.

The spotlight-grabbing international travel — just as Obama seeks to focus attention on his Tuesday climate change speech and a week-long trip to Africa that begins Wednesday — is sure to keep Snowden’s own story atop the headlines, highlighting the White House’s relative powerlessness to bring him back to face charges.

There’s no telling when the stream of stories drawn from his leaks will end, or what his host countries might decide to do with the information he carries, should he share it with them.

And there’s no spinning away the story of Snowden’s continued freedom: Obama and his administration couldn’t talk Hong Kong and China into extraditing Snowden before he left the Chinese protectorate, and have minimal sway with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read more from this story HERE.


Pelosi Booed Over Snowden Comments

By Todd Beamon. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was booed on Saturday when she said NSA leaker Edward Snowden broke the law by disclosing confidential information on the agency’s surveillance programs.

“He did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents,” the California Democrat said, drawing boos from the crowd at the NetRoots Nation conference in San Jose. “I understand, I understand, but he did violate the law.

“And the fact is that, again, we have to have the balance between security and privacy – and we don’t know what sources and methods may have been revealed, which is a tough thing,” Pelosi said, The Hill reports.

“I feel sad that this had to come down to this because I know some of you attribute heroic status to that action, but again, you don’t have the responsibility for the security of the U.S.,” she added. “Those of us who do have to strike a different balance.”

Snowden, a former NSA contractor who is in hiding in Hong Kong, was charged on Friday by U.S. officials with espionage and theft of government property. Read more from this story HERE.