Russian Newspaper: Snowden Reached Out to Russian Authorities While Still in Hong Kong
Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was reaching out to Russian authorities while he was still in Hong Kong.
The respected Russian newspaper Kommersant is reporting that NSA leaker Edward Snowden approached the Kremlin for support and spent a few days in the Russian consulate in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow in June.
Russia hoped to be rid of the whistleblower a day later until the U.S. essentially blocked him from leaving Russia by threatening Cuba and other unnamed countries with “undesirable consequences” if they allowed him to land on their territory or helped him in any other way, Kommersant writes, citing Russian and U.S. diplomatic sources.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the accuracy of the report, written by veteran diplomatic correspondents Elena Chernenko and Alexander Gabuev, as well as Kommersant’s U.S. correspondent Kirill Belyaninov. A rough equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, Kommersant has long been regarded as one of Russia’s top independent news sources. In recent months, however, talk of politically motivated meddling and censorship by owner Alisher Usmanov, a close Putin confidant and the richest man in both Russia and Britain, has sparked talk of a crisis at the publication, prompting the departure of several top editors.
The report cites a source “in Snowden’s entourage” as saying that Snowden spent several days in the Russian consulate in a rented office on the 21st floor of the Sun Hung Kai tower in Hong Kong. Snowden even celebrated his thirtieth birthday there on June 21, the unnamed source said. Snowden flew to Russia two days later.