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Snowden's future uncertain after Russian official retracts tweet

By Jim Heintz

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:44 a.m. HST, Jul 09, 2013

MOSCOW » The net of rumors and uncertainties over NSA leaker Edward Snowden deepened today when a prominent Russian lawmaker tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's offer of political asylum, then deleted the posting a few minutes later.

It was not possible to immediately reach Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee who has acted as an unofficial point-man for the Kremlin on the Snowden affair. But soon after the posting on his Twitter account disappeared, he sent another message saying his claim was based on a report from the state all-news television channel Vesti.

However, no such information could be found on Vesti's website and no Russian news agency reported that Vesti had reported it. The TV channel could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Kremlin declined comment on today's developments.

Snowden, who revealed details of a U.S. intelligence program to monitor Internet activity, came to Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on June 23 and was believed to be headed for Cuba. But he did not board that flight and has not been seen publicly since. He is widely believed to still be in the airport's transit zone.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Saturday his country hadn't yet been in contact with Snowden, who has been unable to travel further because the U.S. annulled his passport.

For Snowden to leave for South America, he would need for Venezuela to issue him travel documents and he would need to find a way to get there. The only direct commercial flight from Moscow stops in Havana, Cuba.

The Moscow-Havana flight goes over Europe and the U.S., which could cause complications. Some European countries refused to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales to fly through their airspace on his way home from Moscow last week because of suspicions that Snowden was on his plane.

The presidents of Bolivia and Nicaragua also said over the weekend that Snowden was welcome in their countries.

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puamamane wrote:
Another No-bama embarrassment
on July 9,2013 | 07:02AM
cojef wrote:
The proof of the pudding has not been established, so Snowden's presence in Venezuela will tell.
on July 9,2013 | 07:19AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Now the logistics of getting this lolo to Venezuela will be really really fun to watch. Since flying a commercial jet is not likely, Venezuela will have to fly a private jet to get him. I'm sure every Venezuelan is happy happy the they will be supporting this dude for a very long time... how old is he....28 29...
on July 9,2013 | 07:24AM
krusha wrote:
I bet they are going to send a narco-sub to retrieve him. :)
on July 9,2013 | 08:12AM
pcman wrote:
I'm sure by now Snowden realizes that he is not as great and important as he thought he was. As a single cog in a 30,000 person agency, I'm sure he is realizing what he knows will not bring NSA to its knees. His knowledge and access of all classified information is now obsolete. The super power countries knew this and have shunned Snowden's request for asylum. His worst fear now is to be accepted by a third world country which may be worse than living in a prison in the US for the rest of his life, No potential government, employer or organization will ever trust Snowden in whatever he wants to do in the future. A liar has no future.
on July 9,2013 | 08:45AM
loquaciousone wrote:
The Saga of the Man without a country continues......Snowden will get snowed in in Russia.
on July 9,2013 | 09:19AM
loquaciousone wrote:
The Saga of the Man without a Country continues.......Snowden will get snowed in in Russia.
on July 9,2013 | 09:20AM
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