WASHINGTON (WJZ) — In hiding and on the run. U.S. authorities are desperately trying to find the former NSA contractor who leaked U.S. intelligence secrets. But his whereabouts remain a mystery.
Derek Valcourt has the latest twists and turns in the case.
In this apparent game of cat-and-mouse, it appears that so far, Edward Snowden has the upper hand on U.S. authorities and the media trying to track him down.
Snowden wasn’t in his seat on a flight to Cuba from Moscow. He hasn’t been seen since his arrival on Russian soil Sunday.
He’s asked for asylum in Ecuador, and authorities there have said they are considering it.
For now, no one knows exactly where Snowden is.
“We’re following all the appropriate legal channels and working with various other countries to make sure the rule of law is observed,” President Barack Obama said. “And beyond that, I’ll refer to the justice department that has been actively involved in the case.”
Snowden admitted to leaking classified information about a U.S. surveillance program that collects the phone records and online data of U.S. and British citizens. He fled the U.S. and spent weeks hiding in Hong Kong, where officials refused U.S. demands to return him to face espionage charges.
Officials there say he left as they were processing paperwork.
“And there was no legal basis to stop Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” Leung Chun-Ying, Hong Kong Chief Justice.
But the Obama Administration isn’t buying that excuse, saying the incident deals a blow to U.S.-China relations.
“This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant. And that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship,” said Jay Carney, White House press secretary.
Snowden has been getting help saying ahead of the international manhunt from whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who is a fugitive living at Ecuador’s London embassy.
In addition to Ecuador, Snowden has also applied for asylum in Iceland and possibly other countries.
The United States has revoked Snowden’s passport. Through a spokesperson, the Russian president says he is unaware of Snowden’s current location.