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article imageWikiLeaks denies Snowden accepted Venezuela's offer for asylum

By Abdul Kuddus     Jul 9, 2013 in World
Moscow - Anti-secrecy group, WikiLeaks, said on its Twitter feed Tuesday that the former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela.
The response by WikiLeaks comes after a Russian lawmaker posted a statement on Twitter declaring that Snowden is headed for Venezuela and then deleted it.
Reportedly, Alexei Pushkov, the pro-Kremlin politician tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's asylum offer, but later the tweet disappeared from his Twitter feed.
“Pushkov had posted messages over the weekend encouraging Snowden to accept Venezuela’s offer, signaling that the Kremlin was now anxious to be rid of him,” the Washington Post reported.
WikiLeaks said Snowden, "will make the announcement if and when the appropriate time comes."
Snowden is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after he churned out controversial details of US-led secret surveillance programs to news tabloids.
Reportedly, Snowden is holed up in the transit area at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23.
Snowden has appealed for asylum to atleast 20 countries out of which Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have shown keen interest in protecting the celebrity fugitive from the US.
But Snowden’s transit to Bolivia or other Latin American countries is fraught with obstacles. There are no direct commercial flights from Moscow to Venezuela, Nicaragua or Bolivia. Further on US request, most of the European countries have closed their skies for planes intending to fly Snowden out of Russia.
Last week, some European countries refused to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales fly through their airspace from Moscow suspecting that Snowden was being ferried on his plane.
The White House is keen on curtailing Snowden’s further travel plans. White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday:
"Mr Snowden ought to be returned to the United States where he is wanted on felony charges. He should not be permitted to engage in further international travel beyond the travel necessary to return to the United States."
"And we've communicated that position with our Russian counterparts and with every country, broadly speaking, that has been discussed as a possible either transition point or destination point for Mr Snowden," he told reporters at a daily briefing.
More about Snowden status, Nsa Prism program, National security, whistleblowing, Espionage
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