Leaker Edward Snowden is still in Russia because Cuba denied him entry to the island nation, according to a Russian newspaper, based on a report by the Guardian today, Monday, Aug. 25. Snowden was prepared to board a plane to Havana when the Cuban government told people in Russia to prevent him from flying to the country the Communists conquered in the 1950s.
According to the Russian newspaper report, the Cubans didn't want to damage their relations with the United States.
Reuters News Agency has been unable to confirm all the details of the Russian newspaper report.
Snowden reportedly had plans to stay in Moscow only a day before flying to Cuba on June 23 when he found himself stuck in the transit zone of the airport there. While Cuba reportedly originally offered him asylum, the Communist dictatorship evidently feared damaging its fragile ties with the U.S. and backed down from its offer, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant today.
Snowden had a seat reserved on the Aeroflot flight which was to take him to the Carribbean island when behind the scenes pressure from the U.S. on Cuba prevailed, according to Kommersant. The Russian paper also said Vladimir Putin only agreed to the one-year asylum in the former Soviet Union because he was blocked from flying to Cuba.
Snowden evidently is good at covering his tracks because the National Security Agency, for whom he worked as an independent contractor, is still scrambling to determine how much information he took with him when he fled the U.S. after leaking top secret American documents.
Snowden has landed on his feet in Russia as he has landed a job with a private corporation similar to Facebook.
A man working with the Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald was stopped at Heathrow Airport by authorities and his documents seized recently. He had been working with a person who wanted to do a movie on the Snowden affair.
The U.S. wants to extradite Snowden back to this country for trial on charges of espionage for leading top secret American documents of the NSA to China and Russia.
Bradley Manning was sentenced last week to 35 years in Fort Leavenworth for espionage while he was a private first class in Iraq. He leaked secret documents to WikiLeaks.
While Manning was a member of the military when he leaked classified documents, Snowden was not a member of the military which will affect in what court he will be tried if he's returned to the U.S. Manning was tried in a military court and sentenced by a military judge. Snowden will be tried in a civilian federal court.
But getting Snowden back to the U.S. may be no easy task. Other countries have reportedly offered the American expatriate asylum in Latin America which is where he will probably try to land.
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