NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is on the run once again after leaving his refuge in Hong Kong to seek political asylum in Ecuador, reports say.
Snowden arrived in Moscow Sunday on his way to Ecuador, mere days after Washington issued a warrant of arrest to get him back on US soil on espionage charges after the leak of highly classified information on US surveillance programs.
According to reports, Snowden arrived in the Russian capital on a direct flight from Hong Kong and was expected to head to Ecuador via Cuba.
Initial reports said the former CIA employee would fly to the Venezuelan capital Caracas, but Ecuador’s Foreign Minister said Snowden has asked the Quito government for asylum.
AFP respondents also said an Ecuadoran flagged diplomatic car had been waiting at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport VIP arrivals, while the Ecuadoran ambassador to Moscow is likely to meet Snowden.
The US government described the decision by Hong Kong to allow Snowden to travel “troubling”. The State Department had revoked his passport and ordered other countries to keep him from traveling, reports AFP.
Snowden spurred a global chase after fleeing to Hong Kong after leaking NSA programs that he claims kept track of millions of phone and Internet records.
Ecuador has been sheltering WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who is wanted by Sweden, at its London embassy for the past year.