UPDATE: Accorder to Miram Elder, the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian, Snowden is not on the plane to Cuba.
Boarding is over. Aeroflot agent says Snowden not on plane.
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) June 24, 2013
An Interfax source reports that the flight to Cuba would pass through US airspace, allowing the US to ground the flight.
Edward Snowden is expected to to fly to Cuba this morning, after spending the night in Moscow’s airport. There is speculation his final destination is Ecuador, where they are “considering” his request for asylum. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Snowden’s request involved “freedom of expression and … the security of citizens around the world.”
Several sources have confirmed that Snowden had checked in for a flight to Havana, scheduled to leave at 6:05amET.
A State Department official said that Washington had warned countries in the Western Hemisphere that Snowden “should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”
Snowden left Hong Kong this weekend, despite the US’s request to turn him over. The NSC issued a statement reading “[We are] disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite the legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement. We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China bilateral relations.”
The statement continued with a request to Russia to turn over Snowden “We now understand Mr. Snowden is on Russian soil. Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters — including returning numerous high level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government — 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.”
It’s not clear what information Snowden is sharing with Hong Kong and Russia. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein speculated Snowden has approximately 200 documents of a sensitive nature.