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Snowden's fate unclear despite asylum offers

By Nataliya Vasilyeva

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:27 a.m. HST, Jul 06, 2013

MOSCOW >> Edward Snowden has found supporters in Latin America, including three countries who have offered him asylum. But many obstacles stand in the way of the fugitive NSA leaker from leaving a Russian airport — chief among them the power and influence of the United States.

Because Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked, the logistics of him departing are complicated. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have made asylum offers over the past two days, but the three countries haven't indicated they would help Snowden by issuing a travel document, which he would need to leave Russia.

The former NSA systems analyst, who is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws, is believed to be stuck in the transit area of Moscow's main international airport after arriving June 23 from Hong Kong.

Russia doesn't appear willing to help him leave the airport, with Kremlin spokesman Alexei Pavlov saying today the issue of Snowden's travel documents is "not our business." On Monday, President Vladimir Putin said Snowden would be offered asylum in Russia if he stopped leaking U.S. secrets. Snowden then withdrew his Russian asylum bid, a Russian official said.

While President Barack Obama has publicly displayed a relaxed attitude toward Snowden's movements, saying last month that he wouldn't be "scrambling jets" to capture him, other senior U.S. officials have used unusually harsh language that they want him back.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said China had "unquestionably" damaged its relationship with Washington for not returning Snowden, who recently turned 30, from semi-autonomous Hong Kong while he was still there.

"The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust," Carney said last month. "We think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback. If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition obligations, then there is a problem."

China may be reluctant to further complicate its relationship with the U.S. by allowing Snowden back in Hong Kong, even if only as a transfer point to Latin America.

Snowden has asked for asylum in more than 20 countries and many have turned him down. WikiLeaks, which has been helping Snowden, said Friday he had submitted asylum applications to six new countries, which the secret-spilling website declined to identify "due to attempted U.S. interference."

The asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia came after leftist South American leaders gathered to denounce the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe amid reports that the fugitive American was aboard.

Spain says it had been warned along with other European countries that Snowden was aboard the Bolivian presidential plane, an acknowledgement the manhunt for the fugitive leaker had something to do with the plane's unexpected diversion to Austria. It is unclear whether Washington warned Madrid about the Bolivian president's plane.

On Saturday, Morales offered asylum to Snowden, but didn't say if Bolivia had received a request from him.

"I want to tell those Europeans and North Americans that as a just protest we now will give asylum to that North American who is persecuted by his compatriots," Morales said during an appearance in the indigenous town of Chipaya.

U.S. officials have declined to comment on the grounding of Morales' plane. They said they won't give details about their conversations with European countries, except to say that they have stated Washington's general position that it wants Snowden back.

Snowden, who on Saturday afternoon wasn't on an Interpol list of people for whom international arrest warrants have been issued, had booked a seat on a Havana-bound flight on June 24, but never made it.

Direct Havana flights, operated by Aeroflot from Moscow's main airport five times a week, are the easiest option of reaching Latin America from Moscow. But the Moscow-Havana's travel path passes over mainland U.S., raising the chances of it being grounded. There are other routes, but there is no assurance he'd have free passage.


AP writer Carlos Valdez contributed to this report from La Paz, Bolivia.

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50skane wrote:
Hopefully he never makes it back to U.S. soil....he will never see his own country again unless he tries to sneek in somehow. If the information he leaked compromised the safety of the U.S. and could be used in future terrorists attacks then he should be treated as aiding the enemy.
on July 6,2013 | 10:26AM
MrRealistic wrote:
The US is the most powerful country in the world. Apparently not, they can't even catch a guy who isn't even hiding. He's at the Moscow airport. The US is only powerful over powerless countries and pretends to be allies with the big boys. China, Russia and others aren't helping the US, why?
on July 6,2013 | 10:45AM
RichardCory wrote:
Because everyone is sick of American bullying and imperialism? I know I am.
on July 6,2013 | 12:06PM
stingray65 wrote:
RichardCory, you missed the double standard!! LOL
on July 6,2013 | 03:11PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Richard on bullying. Like it or not, we have lost the ability of applying political influence around the world as a direct effect of Obama's "lead from behind" and apologetic leadership over the past four and a half years. If Cory and his kids are ever in a situation in a foreign country and needs help, forget it. We do not have any influence any more. In addition to our political super power ability, we have also lost our economic super power strength by borrowing over 7 trillion dollars from the Chinese. Now Obama has stated his willingness to reduce our nuclear strength to below the total of all other countries combined which will no longer make us a military super power. Over his eight years, Obama will have reduced us from a super power to a third rate country. Richard Cory must be real happy.
on July 6,2013 | 03:37PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
If the situation were reversed and we had a Chinese or Russian national spilling their country's secrets ..... would we help? I doubt it,
on July 6,2013 | 02:09PM
Tipops wrote:
What information did he leak that compromised the safety of the U.S.? Can somebody be more specific or are we just repeating the mis-information that was leaked by our government media-spinners? The same government who just might be abusing the trust of the American people and are now upset because Snowden confirmed something that many people have suspected for years.
on July 6,2013 | 12:47PM
lajekal wrote:
Snowden "has basically alerted people who are enemies of this country ... (like) al-Qaida, about what techniques we have been using to monitor their activities and foil plots, and compromised those efforts, and it's very conceivable that people will die as a result."
on July 6,2013 | 01:20PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Well ... releasing information to our allies that the NSA was spying on them doesn't help the US. Telling terrorists how the government tracks the communications is a huge set back as well. Plots that could otherwise have been discovered will likely not be now, potentially costing American lives. It's treason anyway you look at it.
on July 6,2013 | 02:13PM
RichardCory wrote:
You should start publishing all of your personal information and private lifestyle habits online for everyone to see. After all, if it's okay for the government to spy on you, you must have nothing to hide. Let me know what website you will uploading all of this data to so I can check it out and see what a Good Citizen™ you are.
on July 6,2013 | 03:40PM
hikine wrote:
saywhatyouthink probably won't share all his personal info, they might find he/she is gay! oh my!
on July 6,2013 | 03:46PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Tipops on Snowden. Correct that Snowden did not leak any more that what was reported by CBS in the '60 Minutes' teice in the past 18 months. The two programs revealed by Snowden were already proven ineffective by the Boston Bombing. The Chinese and Russians are not impressed at all. That's why they could care less about Snowden. Besides, the programs appear to target Americans and not Russia or China, specifically.
on July 6,2013 | 04:02PM
lajekal wrote:
Snowden " has basically alerted people who are enemies of this country..like Al -Quida about what techniques we have been using to monitor their activities and foil plats, anc compromised those efforts, and it's very conceivable that people will die as a result" Huffington Post
on July 6,2013 | 01:23PM
lajekal wrote:
What does Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia gain by assisting Eric Snowden? Is he more important than relationship with the US, the free trade agreements or the foreign aid from that relationship..
on July 6,2013 | 01:28PM
pcman wrote:
IRT lajekal on Snowden. These countries are run by totalitarian and communist tyrants who oppose the US and its interests of controlling the drug trafficking from South America and the sale of US weapons there. Therefore, anytime they can show the other SA countries they are not influenced by the US the better they are off politically in their own countries.
on July 6,2013 | 04:08PM
pcman wrote:
This article tells us that the US is no longer respected throughout the world as we were when Obama took office. When third rate countries thumb their noses at us, we no longer are a world leader able to maintain peace and cooperation around the world. We are being told to sit in our corner of the world and pound sand and don't bother the rest of the world with our idealists ideas about global warming, green energy, carbon pollution, nuclear proliferation, etc.
on July 6,2013 | 03:47PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Cory on US bullying and imperialism. You are right about Obama just bullying the countries in the Middle east and killing off their leaders and their people without the consent of our Congress, like in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan. At least Bush got approval from Congress and support from the UN and NATO to remove Saddam from power as President Clinton advocated for an Iraqi Freedom and Regime Change. Now Obama is looking at controlling events in Syria. You must be sick of it I'm sure.
on July 6,2013 | 03:55PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The more we hear, the more we learn that the government has run rough shod over our 4th amendment rights. We should be thanking Snowden for opening the conversation to the astonishing attack on our liberties. I hope he finds safe haven.
on July 6,2013 | 04:41PM
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