PRISM: Edward Snowden plane to Cuba leaves without him

A photo of the back of a plane taking off at sunset

Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen employee and NSA contractor responsible for the leak of the PRISM documents, is reportedly on his way to Ecuador to claim asylum.

The 29-year-old IT administrator, who fled to Hong Kong in order to release the documents, was said to have left the Chinese territory for Moscow on Sunday 23 June.

Snowden has not been seen since leaving a hotel in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

He was expected to take an Aeroflot flight from the Russian capital to Havana, Cuba, and travel from there to Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

However, the flight on which he was booked this morning, 24 June, left without him on board.

It is now unclear where Snowden is, as he has not been seen since leaving a hotel in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

Snowden's travel was apparently permitted despite requests by the American government for Hong Kong to detain him pending extradition to the US to face espionage charges.

This latest twist in the whistleblower's saga comes shortly after the Guardian published in full two documents that showed judges had signed off on orders that allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently" collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

According to the newspaper, these orders allow the NSA to keep data that could contain the details of US citizens for up to five years and retain and make use of "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they are encrypted.

The Guardian also revealed that GCHQ has gained access to the network of cables that carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and is sharing and processing that information with the NSA.

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.