NSA leaker on the run; may seek asylum in Ecuador

NSA leaker on the run; may seek asylum in Ecuador

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Edward Snowden (Courtesy: The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras) Edward Snowden (Courtesy: The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)
WASHINGTON -

The whereabouts of NSA leaker Edward Snowden is now an open question.

Snowden reportedly left Hong Kong and is now in Russia, and was expected to head for Cuba, but witnesses say he did not show up for a flight to Havana.

Snowden is expected to seek asylum in Ecuador.

He's on the run and from the White House overnight, an urgent plea to Russia to hold Snowden there after he fled what had been the safe harbor of Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow.

"...we expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," stated NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.

But Snowden's dramatic journey may now have more to do with dicey international relations than the state secrets he divulged about NSA surveillance.          

Hong Kong said the U.S. request for Snowden's extradition was incomplete and the government there would not cooperate.

And President Obama's frosty relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on full display last week in Ireland, may have complicated efforts to get cooperation on that end.

"They let this guy on a plane without a Visa, you know Aeroflot normally wouldn't do that unless there had been some coordination beforehand with Putin's government.  So I'm sure that what we're seeing right now is Moscow doing its best to make sure that the Unites States is embarrassed by Snowden," said East Asia analyst Gordon Chang on FOX News' "America's News Headquarters."

And the troubling undercurrent -- what else does Snowden know as he apparently plans to travel to countries that do not have U.S. interests at heart.

"He is picking worst places to seek refugee.  First China, Russia. Now perhaps Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador. They don't respect freedom of press there, and they do more espionage there than he could ever imagine," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on "America's News Headquarters."

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