Was NSA Whistleblower Snowden Really in Hong Kong? (+video)

Photo Credit: Kin Cheung

Photo Credit: Kin Cheung

By Aaron Klein. While NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden continues to baffle world governments and the news media with his exact whereabouts and travel plans, one question apparently not being asked is whether he was ever in Hong Kong in the first place.

Or, if Snowden was in Hong Kong, did he leave the region the weekend, when he was reported to have departed for Moscow?

Snowden is currently a high-profile figure in the news. Yet not a single picture or video that places him in Hong Kong has emerged, including during his purported arrival at the airport with a small entourage of lawyers and a WikiLeaks representative.

The South China Morning Post claimed Snowden took off from the Hong Kong airport at 10:55 a.m. local time on Sunday on flight SU213 and was due to arrive at Moscow’s Shermetyevo International Airport at 5:15 p.m.

Upon the flight’s arrival, Russian and international camera crews caught no glimpses of Snowden. Read more from this story HERE.

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U.S. loses secrets, prestige as China, Russia defy Obama over Snowden

By Dave Boyer. It doesn’t look good when the most powerful man in the world can’t get his hands on one of the most wanted men in the world.

Edward Snowden, the confessed National Security Agency leaker, has eluded U.S. authorities since early June, even as President Obama’s administration pleaded with officials in China and Russia to send the fugitive back to America.

The traditional rivals of the U.S. have even seemed to enjoy the Obama administration’s distress. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Mr. Snowden “a free man” Tuesday, confirming that Mr. Snowden had been at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since Sunday. He explicitly refused to comply with the U.S. request to turn over Mr. Snowden, noting that the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty.

The episode is making the U.S. look weak in the eyes of Russia and China, said Leon Aron, a foreign policy analyst at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

“From the point of view of the Russians and the Chinese, definitely,” Mr. Aron said. “In their systems, legitimacy comes from being treated with fear and respect. And clearly, they’re choosing not to treat the United States that way.” Read more from this story HERE.

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The Age of American Impotence: As the Edward Snowden saga illustrates, the Obama administration is running out of foreign influence.

By Bret Stephens. At this writing, Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive National Security Agency contractor indicted on espionage charges, is in Moscow, where Vladimir Putin’s spokesman insists his government is powerless to detain him. “We have nothing to do with this story,” says Dmitri Peskov. “I don’t approve or disapprove plane tickets.”

Funny how Mr. Putin always seems to discover his inner civil libertarian when it’s an opportunity to humiliate the United States. When the Russian government wants someone off Russian soil, it either removes him from it or puts him under it. Just ask investor Bill Browder, who was declared persona non grata when he tried to land in Moscow in November 2005. Or think of Mr. Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, murdered by Russian prison officials four years later.

Mr. Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong, where local officials refused a U.S. arrest request, supposedly on grounds it “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.” That’s funny, too, since Mr. Snowden had been staying in a Chinese government safe house before Beijing gave the order to ignore the U.S. request and let him go.

“The Hong Kong government didn’t have much of a role,” Albert Ho, a Hong Kong legislator, told Reuters. “Its role was to receive instructions to not stop him at the airport.”

Now Mr. Snowden may be on his way to Havana, or Caracas, or Quito. It’s been said often enough that this so-called transparency crusader remains free thanks to the cheek and indulgence of dictatorships and strongmen. It’s also been said that his case illustrates how little has been achieved by President Obama’s “reset” with Moscow, or with his California schmoozing of China’s Xi Jinping earlier this month. Read more from this story HERE.