Catch Me If You Can: Hong Kong Defies the US, Snowden Heads to Ecuador
USA Today reports:
Snowden was permitted to leave Hong Kong despite an extradition request that he be returned to the United States to face charges of espionage. Russia's state ITAR-Tass news agency said he had landed in Moscow.
Russian news site RT reported that Snowden was to Moscow on Monday for Havana, and then on to Caracas, Venezuela. But the Ecuador ministry and Wikileaks, a web site that divulges state secrets and is assisting Snowden, said he will try to get to Ecuador instead.
Hong Kong said in a statement that it allowed Snowden to leave because documents provided by the U.S. government for extradition did not "fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law," and the U.S. had not yet provided the additional information requested to consider the U.S. request for a provisional arrest warrant.
After the announcement Saturday of the extradition request, an Obama administration official told USA TODAY that Hong Kong risked harming relations with the two sides if it did not comply with its legal obligations. Regina Ip, a legilsater and Cabinet member in Hong Kong, said, "I don't think we need to be concerned about any consequences."
Wikileaks is assisting Snowden, as its own leader, Julian Assange, holes up on Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid rape charges in Sweden.
The Obama administration looks impotent as Wikileaks, Hong Kong, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador defy the US.