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Has Snowden flipped to the other side? Espionage suspect goes missing in Russia...

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Over the weekend Edward Snowden, the espionage suspect and whistleblower who revealed that the National Security Administration is conducting controversial domestic surveillance, left Hong Kong for Russia. The media reported he would make his way to Ecuador, but he skipped a scheduled initial flight to Cuba from Moscow.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Where in the world is Edward Snowden? This is the question perplexing U.S. agents as they try to pursue the espionage suspect.

Last week, it was announced that Edward Snowden would be charged with espionage after he revealed that the U.S. government was spying on American citizens.

After spending over a few weeks in Hong Kong, Snowden fled the Chinese city as it became clear that American authorities were asking  Chinese police to arrest him for extradition back to the United States.  Authorities in Hong Kong said the documents provided by the U.S. requesting his detention and extradition were out of compliance with their law. Hong Kong police appeared annoyed with U.S. authorities over the request.

Hong Kong officials say Snowden "legally and lawfully" boarded a flight to Moscow.

Snowden was accompanied on the flight by Sarah Harrison, the ex-girlfriend of Julian Assange. Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is holding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, trying to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning in a sex case.

The authorities now believe Snowden is hiding in Moscow, where the government appears sympathetic to his plight. This is a curious fact, considering the Russian government isn't known for its pro-freedom stance.

For now, we can only speculate what's happened to Snowden. One possibility is that the missed flight from Moscow to Ecuador was a diversion. Another possibility is that the Russians have seized Snowden for questioning. A final, troubling possibility is that Snowden has flipped to the other side and is providing detailed information to enemies of the United States.

American authorities are hoping the Russians will use Snowden to bargain and to improve relations, and will hand him over.

However, the Russians have said he is not on any Interpol wanted lists and "has not committed any crimes in Russia," according to an unidentified Russian source, and will therefore not be arrested. Despite this, secret Russian intelligence officials have been reported at the airport and hotel where Snowden slept.

The U.S. government has warned all nations not to assist Snowden unless it is to extradite him back to the States.

Snowden's goal, based on flight bookings, is Ecuador. Ecuador acknowledges that they are considering the possibility of granting him asylum.

There is also discussion over the role of the U.K. in the case. A flight from Moscow to Cuba or Ecuador would likely fly through British airspace. If Snowden is on such a flight, it is possible the Royal Air Force could scramble to escort the flight to a British airport where Snowden could be removed. Prime Minister Cameron has declined to comment on this possibility.

For now, it appears that Snowden has the jump on U.S. authorities and is out of their reach. However, he is only 30, and both the memory and arm of American justice is long. Snowden is likely only delaying an inevitable fate. Yet it appears his role is mostly finished anyway. Americans are now aware of PRISM.

What happens to Snowden now is a footnote compared to what will happen to the country.

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