Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, said Sunday that Edward Snowden, former agent of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, accused of spying for Washington, has sought his country’s asylum.
“The government of Ecuador has received asylum from Edward Snowden”, said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador through his Twitter account.
Patiño is currently in Vietnam, where he is on an official visit. The Telegraph reported that the Chancellor is planning to offer a press conference at 19:00, in the Melia in Hanoi.
The American, ex-consultor and former National Security Agency (NSA) agent of the U.S., is sought by Washington for having leaked the existence of government programs in the United States and Britain to monitor internet traffic and phone calls.
Snowden arrived on Sunday in Moscow from Hong Kong on a commercial flight and according to Russian media reports the Ecuadorian ambassador in that city was waiting for him at the Sheremetyevo airport.
However, Snowden was not seen in the terminal and not among the passengers that passed through passport control in Terminal C of the airport where the plane landed, according to an AFP reporter.
Several passengers said the AFP had seen a car parked on the tarmac next to the plane, which could indicate that he left the airport this way.
“They took bags directly from the plane, it seemed strange,” he told AFP Jason Stephens, passenger on the flight.
WikiLeaks, the organization founded by Julian Assange, lent his support to Snowden and said in a statement that the U.S. ex-agent was traveling “bound for a democratic nation through a safe route to find asylum there.”
“He is escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from WikiLeaks,” Assange said in a statement.
Assange remains in Ecuador’s embassy in London since one year ago as a political refugee in an effort to avoid extradition to Sweden, which seeks him for alleged sexual offenses that he denies.
Ecuador granted diplomatic asylum to Assange on 16 August but Wikileaks founder could not leave the embassy in the UK and they have not given him safe route out of the country.
As of June 5, when the first articles were published in newspapers The Guardian and The Washington Post, Edward Snowden revealed details about the collection by the NSA phone data in the U.S. and overseas communications through internet.
More than 19,000 people, in the last 24 hours have signed a petition directed at the U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, the former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA).
Ecuador is becoming a safe haven for whistleblowers like Assange and most likely Snowden.
Meanwhile, war criminals like George W. Bush, his father, Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger cannot leave the US without probable judicial indictment by so many countries it is unfathomable. So, while the US is the safe haven for US war criminals, Ecuador remains one of the only countries willing to grant asylum for those telling the truth.