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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Confusion Over N.S.A. Leaker’s Special Travel Document

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor leading the Obama administration on an international chase in the wake of leaking classified documents, had his passport revoked by the United States in recent days.

But Ecuador, the nation to which he has applied for asylum, has reportedly granted him a special document with which he can cross borders. And the Spanish-language television network Univision said, early Wednesday evening, that it had obtained a copy.

The document, titled a “SAFEPASS,” is essentially a sheet of printed A4paper, apparently issued in London, where the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has said he assisted Mr. Snowden, has been living in Ecuador’s embassy for more than a year.

Reuters reported, citing local news media, that Ecuador’s acting foreign minister, Galo Galarza, denied his government had issued documents to Mr. Snowden.

But in those news clips, according to my colleague William Neuman, it is not clear precisely what documents Mr. Galarza is refe! rring to.

It is, amid the confusion, not clear whether Mr. Snowden has the piece of paper Univision published, or any other travel documentation while his application for asylum is considered. Which could mean he may spend days, weeks, or months in a Moscow airport.