As Snowden seeks asylum, U.S. bides its time
June 27th, 2013
07:08 AM ET

As Snowden seeks asylum, U.S. bides its time

By Elise Labott and Matt Smith

The United States is biding its time in its effort to get fugitive leaker Edward Snowden delivered to its custody, hoping that Russia wearies of him and Ecuador decides against granting him asylum, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency computer contractor who exposed details of U.S. surveillance programs, faces espionage charges if shipped back home. He is currently cooling his heels at Moscow's international airport, where he arrived Sunday from Hong Kong.

"Time is our friend," one senior administration official told CNN. "The Russians now just want him gone, and I'm not sure if they care at this point if he goes to a country that might be inclined to send him back."

The State Department revoked Snowden's passport after charges were brought last week. Officials in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, said it needed more information before it could act on a U.S. request to hold him there. WikiLeaks said Snowden flew out of Hong Kong on refugee papers issued by Ecuador, where he has requested asylum, but Ecuador's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday that his country had provided him no documents.

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. nina

    RUN SNOW RUN....FREEDOM!

    July 1, 2013 at 12:17 am | Reply
  2. jonat

    "US bides it's time" like they have a choice

    June 29, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  3. Ian

    Ahh all the talk about Snowden and nothing about what he revealed. The only thing that matters is that we kill the messenger. The fact that the director of national intelligence committed perjury when asked directly about it? Oh that's not an issue on CNN. Lets play "Where in the World is Carmen Snowden" instead!!

    June 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Avp

      Im just curious why this data collection nightmare didn't work with the Boston incident. I guess its only good as the people behind it. Im sure its great after the fact when you know what direction to look in and get leads. All that info with only so many people the ratio will be extremely lopsided. Im sure they have ways of gleaming the info but you can still miss a lot of things. I can see this topic in the next election.

      June 29, 2013 at 5:08 am | Reply
  4. Kerry

    Snowden doesn't have a passport. How can Russia expect him to travel if they can't release him? One has to show a valid passport in order to travel internationally. Sounds like there is more to the story than Russia is willing to divulge.

    June 28, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
  5. StanCalif

    Be sure, Snowden is NOT lounging somewhere in the transit terminal! He is in the hands of Russian seceret service! When the Russians have everything Snowden has, he will magically reappear in the transit terminal to continue his journey!
    Russia surely does not want him to stay, this would not be to their advantage. However, he will not be allowed to continue on his journey until Russian secret service has everything Snowden has!

    June 28, 2013 at 8:40 am | Reply
  6. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    June 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • Benjamin g hartog

      Remember America helped crush Fascism in WWII, Snowden' predicament shrinks to insignificance when compared to the Holocaust and Hiroshima. We should be grateful to the men who are buried at Normandy and the the Punchbowl in Hawaii. Otherwise Americans would be live in a totalitarian state in which women would be comfort girls and men consigned to hard labor and minorities exterminated.

      June 29, 2013 at 8:50 am | Reply
  7. Atossa

    .

    Dog and pony show.

    The question is... whose pony is Snowden... and who is really running this circus.

    .

    June 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  8. Alex279

    And yes, Sarah Harrison (Snowden's Attorney) is negotiation a deal with Tom Hanks. The movie will be called The Terminal.

    June 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  9. Pete

    Snowden without a passport is much like Tom Hanks is stuck in that airport in that funny movie..The only difference he has to watch all arrivals from America or ally countries that could send an assasin out if he doesn't return to face espionage charges stateside..A snuffed out Snowden makes a much safer place here,remember loose lips sink ships!!

    June 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      Somewhat yes, but Sheremetevo transit zone a very safe area guarded by Russian border patrol and the watchful eye of FSB, and after major remodeling two years ago it is quite spacious (terminals D,E,F are combined together and one can walk from one to another) and comfortable.

      The only problem with it that it is very expensive to live there: you have no choice but to eat in a fancy restorant,
      and go to an overpriced hotel to take a shower and to sleep. A cup of coffee would be around 4 dollars.

      As far as "watch all arrivals from America or ally countries that could send an assassin" I can assure you: it is absolutely not what could happen. At first, all arriving passengers are escorted downstairs, and have to go through security screening points again before entering that zone. This is different from what you get in Western airports, where when you arrive you may choose to go straight to border control and customs, or may wander around as long as you wish.

      Besides.... did not Snowden manage to avoid ALL contacts with journalists who literally hunt for him.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • Pete

        @Alex279,trust me if a trained assasin in such covert operations had the job of taking him out Snowden whether in a place you describe or not it would be like shooting fish in a barrel with no place to hide..Remember he can't leave either without a passport , he'll run out of money eventually and they'll tell him to leave not giving him asylum or send him somewhere whether he likes it or not.Its in the Russian governments hands how hot this incident gets between Putin,Pres.Obama wanting his extradition without a hitch!!

        June 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • sayflyby

        this hasben a good idea using snowden under coer like to all this stuff comeing in like this is grate info to the max 4shore nuff an the robuts an look a likes grate job,.pnm,.

        June 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • StanCalif

        Be sure, Snowden is NOT lounging somewhere in the transit terminal! He is in the hands of Russian seceret service! When the Russians have everything Snowden has, he will magicaly reappear in the transit terminal to continue his journey!

        June 28, 2013 at 8:30 am |
      • StanCalif

        The "reporters" sent to Moscow can't find Snowden in the transit terminal! Shocking! And please, don't call these people "journalists"! They are only headline seekers.
        Snowden is in the hands of Russia's secret service, not in the transit terminal!
        Russia has their "rules", but nothing prevents them from making exceptions! Snowden is NOT in the terminal! So all you headline seekers can go home! You will find nothing!

        June 28, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  10. sayflyby

    snowden caneg his name agen WACTDEN WACTED WACT ICED putin enter that ones life at your own risk,.pnm,.

    June 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  11. elucidated1

    Normally, I would be agreeing with "whistleblowers" but in this case, Snowden, an unelected 29 year old man, decides to go to Hong Kong, with four, count em, computers holding national intelligence. . .and sanctimoniously compromise our national security and the security of 300 million Americans, he deserves to get picked off. Why? Well, when was the last time you heard Pelosi agreeing with Boehner, Graham agreeing with Feinstein, Cheney agreeing with Obama? Our NSA program must be gleaning tons of data on the bad guys in the world. This is NOT just about the government watching Joe American's secret porn account.

    June 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • George

      You think in terms of power.
      but please think about the danger which was shown by mr. snowden.
      In the name of security you allow technics which enable "1984" of George Orwell.

      Its very important to take actions to prevent the total control.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  12. Al

    Just think about this for a minute, if Edward Snowden indeed open the valet about the surveillance the country is running on its people, then why does the government not do something good and productive and provide gathered activities on the crimes that police are investigating? This guy informed the people of the actions that the Federal government is committing against the people, and they are doing it without warrant or justifiable cause. But at least they are not profiling.

    June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  13. slimman_andrews

    Whether Edward Snowden is at the airport in Russia or somewhere already is not much of a big deal. The US government and its spy machinery must stop terrorising people who would expose of its hypocritical global dominance and illegal spying activities.

    June 27, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • Rundown

      Disagree

      June 27, 2013 at 7:56 am | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Well put, slimman_andrews. I totally agree. If he is caught, it will be great travesty of justice to say the least!

      June 27, 2013 at 8:20 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @Andrews,say thank you to Bushs PatriotAct,Homeland Security then with illegal searches,wiretaps you've lived with for over a decade...Pres.Obama signed extentions but made it requiring court orders for searches and wiretaps against Bushs policies and look over your shoulder for Big Brother because he is watching ,hearing all..

      June 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      Good luck. ...But next tome be more careful than Ryan Fogle recently caught and humiliated by FSB.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Rundown

      I disagree on a lot of things posted in Snowdons favor. But on the other hand I like knowing. Theres a lot of mixed feelings on this subject but I do believe he will eventually be caught. Then the real circus will begin; Democrats and Republicans at their Finest.

      June 28, 2013 at 6:15 am | Reply
      • tluv

        I read that someone disagreed with what Snowden did, but yet liked knowing. That is contradictory. The only thing Snowden did was inform the General American Public that the government they put into office is spying on them daily. Did he give away classified information? Yes. Why was it classified? Because the government didn't want it's own people knowing they were being spied on. I had no idea that we were the enemy.

        June 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  14. yrr

    Are you sure that it is Snowden cooling his heels at Russian airport or he's already somewhere else?

    June 27, 2013 at 7:29 am | Reply
    • Rundown

      That's a thought!

      June 27, 2013 at 7:39 am | Reply
    • Alex279

      To disappointment of many in Russia, he did not apply for Russian visa, nor for asylum in Russia.

      Unlike Putin, there are many people in Russia who would sincerely welcome Snowden, but thus far he made no steps and expressed no intention toward stay in Russia.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  15. jonat

    "US bides it's time" like we have a choice?

    June 27, 2013 at 7:18 am | Reply

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