WikiLeaks: Snowden seeking asylum in Ecuador

WikiLeaks: Snowden seeking asylum in Ecuador
MGN Online/The Guardian
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POSTED: Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 1:18pm

UPDATED: Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 2:11pm

The man who's admitted leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs appears to have his sights set on Ecuador.

Edward Snowden, who's charged with espionage in the United States, has asked for asylum in the South American country, its Foreign Ministry said in a Twitter post.

WikiLeaks, which facilitates the publication of classified information and has said it's helping Snowden's asylum bid, said in a statement Sunday that Snowden was "bound for the republic of Ecuador."

CNN spotted a car with diplomatic plates and an Ecuadorian flag at Moscow's airport on Sunday.

And the Reuters news agency reported that Ecuador's ambassador to Russia said he would be meeting with Snowden at a Moscow airport hotel.

Why would Snowden head to Ecuador?

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a left-leaning economist, has railed against the United States in concert with allies in the region and elsewhere -- Bolvia's Evo Morales, Cuba's Fidel Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The South American country approved an asylum request from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last August.

Assange has been holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London for just over a year.

He faces arrest in Britain if he leaves the embassy.

Ecuador's foreign minister has repeatedly called on British authorities to reconsider Assange's case, describing it as "politically motivated."

Wherever Snowden goes next, U.S. officials have said they plan to push to prosecute him.

On Sunday, a senior administration official said the United States was asking Ecuador not to let Snowden in.

Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for the Guardian who worked with Snowden on articles about the agency's secret surveillance programs, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he didn't know where Snowden was heading.

"He's going to be facing serious consequences no matter what happens," Greenwald told CNN's "Reliable Sources." "He had a life in which he was living in the United States. He was an American citizen his whole life. He had a long-term girlfriend in Hawaii, a stable, lucrative career -- all of which he gave up in order to bring to light what he believed is serious wrongdoing on the part of our highest political officials. And he's now -- no matter what, at best -- going to spend the rest of his life on the run from the most powerful government on earth."
 

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