Image 01 Image 03

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Has Left Hong Kong – Wikileaks Claims to be Assisting

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Has Left Hong Kong – Wikileaks Claims to be Assisting

Update — Snowden lands in Moscow

UPDATE 6/23 1:00pm EST: Snowden has requested asylum in Ecuador, per Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Minister.


A statement from Hong Kong’s government confirms that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has left the country.  A local news outlet reports that Snowden is bound for Cuba and Venezuela by way of Moscow, while Wikileaks is claiming that it has “assisted Mr. Snowden’s political asylum.”

(added — live feed from Russia Today — Update — which confirms Snowden has landed in Moscow)

The HKSAR government issued the following statement today:

Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.

The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden’s departure.

Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.

It is notable that the Hong Kong government’s statement makes direct reference to Snowden’s accusations against the US of hacking Hong Kong targets.

The South China Morning Post has provided more details on Snowden’s flight itinerary, indicating that he is expected to then fly from Moscow to Cuba, and then to Venezuela.

The 30-year-old left from Chep Lap Kok airport on a flight scheduled for 10.55am. He boarded Aeroflot Flight SU213, which is due to land at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport at 5.15pm local time (8.15pm Hong Kong time).

Russian news agencies Interfax and Itar-Tass reported Snowden is booked on a flight from Moscow to Cuba on Monday. Itar-Tass said Snowden would fly from Havana to Caracas, Venezuela.

“A passenger under that name will arrive in Moscow from Hong Kong today on flight SU213, and tomorrow, on June 24, he will fly to Havana on flight SU150,” the state news agency ITAR-Tass quoted a source at the airline as saying. “Also tomorrow, he will go to Caracas from Havana on a local flight.”

Wikileaks is claiming that it has assisted Snowden in securing political asylum, and has issued a statement indicating that Snowden requested its assistance to “secure his safety.”  It also said that Snowden is currently “being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange previously recommended that Snowden seek asylum in Latin America.

As The Guardian points out, “the 30-year-old had previously said he would stay in the city [Hong Kong] and fight for his freedom in the courts.”

It is unclear what caused Snowden to deviate from that plan, but one can only imagine that the circumstances placed Hong Kong (and China) in a difficult position.

From the LA Times:

Willy Lam, a political analyst at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said it was “highly likely” that Beijing authorities had instructed Hong Kong officials not to surrender Snowden.

“The decision was basically made in Beijing not to send him to the U.S.,” Lam said. “Hong Kong was seeking a politically expedient way out before the legal procedures started. What the Hong Kong government said is that they received Washington’s request but were seeking more info. But they haven’t gotten it. So the pretext was that they have no legal reason to detain him.”

“This is a sort of a clever way out for the Hong Kong government to avoid getting into a more difficult situation,” Lam added.

The situation is obviously a fluid one; Legal Insurrection will post updates as new information becomes available.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


BannedbytheGuardian | June 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

I thought that the answers that were given to the Guardian in the most recent interview were compiled by a committee. So it was Wikileaks.’ & their legal team. ( I had suspected it was not primarily a PRC operation .)

Interesting because Wikileaks is The Guardian’s mortal enemy. Haha they got punked.

On a commercial plane no less. Shoah – brazen.

Get the popcorn.

The howling of the uninformed is going to be entertaining. They missed Article 3 Section 3 in their education apparently.

The correct field for continued questioning is exactly what has the NSA and big government been doing with all this data they have been collecting for at least 8 years?

    Sadly though, I don’t think most members of Congress are qualified to conduct that line of questioning. Most don’t seem to grasp many of the important technical intricacies.

    And it’s important for us to know, without any vague grey areas, exactly what is being collected and how the processes work so that things that need reforming and/or repealing can be undertaken properly. Otherwise, we’ll still be here debating this in another 10 years.

      OldNuc in reply to Mandy Nagy. | June 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Unfortunately, you are correct. When the AT&T data tap surfaced in 05 it never made a ripple either. The subject is just too complex for the short attention span of most people. The general public has no comprehension at all as to what can be done with this type of data to control behavior and association.

Is Julian WikiLeaks playing many sides in this situation, in the attempt to become a hero?

Even with Hugh-O and his political children in Venezuela, the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Venezuela. If,IF Venezuela decides to hold fast, we just may have undercover DEA agents in Columbia that on orders would off Mr. Snowden.

But what the hell do I know, I am not, nor have I been employed by any of the FED spy agencies.

The netroots folks surely didn’t like Nancy Pelosi’s comments about Snowden at the netroots convention. They actually boo-ed her and worse.

    Well deserved boos and heckling for Ms. “we have to pass it, so you know what’s in it”… regardless the political side(s).

KM from Detroit | June 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

At this point, Snowden’s claim of doing the morally-right thing is lacking in credibility.

Say what you will about the NSA’s activities, but making a grand world tour of every country antagonistic to the US and, I assume, handing over the information he stole? Yeah, that fits the definition of espionage that the White House has levied.

It’s precisely because of the “No, I don’t wanna” petulant responses from Beijing/Hong King and, presumably, every other place he’ll stop that we may have an extradition treaty with, that I kind of want a major scene when he lands in Cuba or Venezuela. Instead of the huge press-corps welcome he got in Russia, I’d like to see an equally large number of police waiting to haul him away.

    Browndog in reply to KM from Detroit. | June 23, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Say what you will about the NSA’s activities, but making a grand world tour of every country antagonistic to the US and, I assume, handing over the information he stole? Yeah, that fits the definition of espionage that the White House has levied.

    Please cite the specific information that Snowden has handed over so we can have an honest debate as to whether it rises to the level of espionage..

    Be sure to cite your sources, so we can have an honest debate as to their credibility.

      KM from Detroit in reply to Browndog. | June 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

      I haven’t got any of either, clearly. This just goes to show how much of a bad idea it is to post a comment after just having woken up.

      MrMichael in reply to Browndog. | June 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Wow… you want specific information and sources… to decide if taking information from Secure government files and giving it to the press and others on a tour of that government’s adversaries before you will allow somebody to debate whether there has been espionage?!?

      I suppose when there is a Bank Robbery, you would not allow anybody to consider whether there has been a crime unless we have an accurate count of the money stolen broken out by denomination.

      Whenever anybody takes secured information from my government and hands it over to *anybody*, even the press… I will accuse them of espionage. I am not the courts; you’ll have to prove them innocent using more proof than they themselves have given of their guilt.

      This clown has given what HE says is classified information to the Press. The US Government agrees. If you want to defend his actions, you’ll have to come up with some sort of proof that counters this activity. Until then? I just consider you a troll, and I for one will no longer feed you.

        wyntre in reply to MrMichael. | June 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

        No matter what Snowden’s status I’m personally glad the cat is out of the bag on the degree to which we are all being spied on.

        Of course everyone knew that was probably the case but now. at least, we have details and proof. I don’t find that a bad thing.

        Browndog in reply to MrMichael. | June 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        Ah, nice work MrMichael-

        Heart broken, I am, that you just didn’t come right out and state as fact that I am a Bradley Manning sympathizer…as others have, here on LI.

        I guess troll will do, for now.

        Straw men, emotional outbursts, and name calling-

        Gee, I wonder where you learned those “debate” tactics?

I don’t care about Snowden — who he is, what he is or where he is. The government wants this to be about him and not the information he’s been revealing. But that should be the issue.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to raven. | June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

    There you go. The media has a habit of mistaking a symptom for the disease itself.

      The government wants this to be all about Snowden and not about the NSA. The MBM is again complacent in another blatant coverup. Notice the almost complete silence from Congress as well, it is not just Obama and the O-bots who want America to look at the Squirrel.

    wyntre in reply to raven. | June 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Agree. The POS is trying to turn this into a cops and robber story with Snowden as villain. And the press seems all too eager to go along with it.

    It’s mostly Snowden’s fault for putting himself out there the way he did and now, with the flight to wherever via Russia his story seems ever more convoluted.

    But the real issue is the content of what he leaked and the implications on Americans.

    I hope someone will keep their eye on the prize and not let this huge scandal disappear down the memory hole along with
    F & F, Benghazi, IRS, DOJ, EPA, etc.

    JerryB in reply to raven. | June 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Funny, Snowden doesn’t want the story to be about him, except when the story isn’t about him.

    I’ve had it with this creep.

Snowden leaks state secrets due to outrage over NSA surveillance.

Obama administration seeks to convict him of espionage, not because of the sensitivity of the data or the revelation of the scope of NSA data gathering, but rather because Snowden cast them in a negative light. After all, Obama have no compunction against revealing state secrets when it suits them.

It is a damned shame they both can’t lose.

    wyntre in reply to turfmann. | June 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Well said although if I had to choose I would prefer the POS take a huge hit.

    Sanddog in reply to turfmann. | June 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve read several stories this morning about Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong that quote “anonymous administration officials” who aren’t authorized to speak on record. When the Obama administration uses anonymous officials to castigate a “leaker”, you know they’ve truly jumped the shark.

casualobserver | June 23, 2013 at 10:35 am

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of this information is just to obfuscate. If he is indeed in Moscow, he’s even closer to catching that private plane to Iceland promised earlier by a businessman. Or he may already be on that private plane instead of the Moscow based flights.

It would be an act of desperation to end up in Venezuela versus Iceland I think.

moonstone716 | June 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

Come on, people. All the time spent breathlessly following the news and speculating about this jerk is time we are not focused on the things that matter.

    Sanddog in reply to moonstone716. | June 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    This story does matter… but not in the way it’s being presented. You’ve got the press and the administration making this all about Snowden instead of focusing on a corrupt and overbearing government which has demonstrated that the rule of law is only for the little people.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Sanddog. | June 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Just so – focusing on a symptom (Snowden) and ignoring the disease (out of control government).

what better way for obama to show his flexibility to russia?
now we have someone with specific (actual info still TBD) info about NSA in russia.

Alleged pic of Snowden surrounded by reporters getting into an Ecuadorean car.


Remember, whistle blowers are severely intimidated by the present administration. There is no protection if a person comes forward. All Fed departments are holding training sessions on not talking out of turn and the MBM has been severely intimidated as well. Genuine real live police state tactics right here in the Good Old U.S. of A. Reasonable justification for the way Snowden has been reacting. He sure is not getting the Daniel Ellsberg treatment by the press.

Henry Hawkins | June 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I would NOT feel comfortable riding on a plane with Snowden.

#BREAKING: Snowden has requested asylum in Ecuador: foreign minister


I thought Snowden would have his showdown in Hong Kong. I guess the Chicoms didn’t want all the attention and told Snowden to leave while they delayed on the US arrest warrant application. From a safety and quality of life standpoint, I really don’t see any upside with Venezuela or Cuba. The US must have convinced Hong Kong to push him out, and now Snowden will spend the coming years (days?) in hiding or on the run until he is caught or surrenders. Hong Kong was a great Plan A, but when they bailed, Plan B doesn’t look too good. In the movie version, maybe all this will be a ruse, and he’ll actually be living it up in Macau.