Sunday, June 23, 2013

Edward Snowden Flees Hong Kong

He's got a one-way ticket to Moscow.

At the New York Times, "N.S.A. Leaker Leaves Hong Kong on Flight to Moscow":

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government announced on Sunday afternoon that it had allowed the departure from its territory of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has acknowledged disclosing classified documents about United States government surveillance of Internet and telephone communications around the world.

The government statement said that Hong Kong had informed the United States of Mr. Snowden’s departure.

A Moscow-based reservations agent at Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, said that Mr. Snowden was aboard flight SU213 to Moscow, with a scheduled arrival there a little after 5 p.m. Moscow time. The reservations agent said that Mr. Snowden was traveling on a one-way ticket to Moscow.

Mr. Snowden's final destination could not be determined. The ticket out of Hong Kong did not appear to include a destination beyond Moscow, the Aeroflot agent said, while cautioning that Mr. Snowden might have a separate reservation or ticket. Mr. Snowden is traveling with one other person, with the surname Harrison, but the agent declined to release the other traveler’s first name, saying that she did not have the authorization to do so. The Hong Kong Bar Association Web site does not list any lawyers with the family name Harrison.

His departure is a setback for the United States, which had been pressing Hong Kong to surrender him to American law enforcement officials. The Hong Kong government said on Sunday, in its first detailed statement about Mr. Snowden, that the United States had made a legal request for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr. Snowden, but that the Hong Kong government had concluded that the request “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.”

The statement said that Hong Kong had requested more information from the United States but had not received it. Because the 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 statement said.
This is huge, an epic slap in the face to the Unites States government, who reportedly put heavy pressure on Hong Kong to relinquish Snowden. Expect updates.

More: Memeorandum is a little slow today, but some links are starting to show up.