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Monday, June 24, 2013

Flight Departs for Cuba, but No Sign of Snowden

After leaving Hong Kong Sunday and reportedly staying overnight at a Moscow airport hotel, Edward J. Snowden was expected to board a flight Monday to Cuba as part of his journey to escape federal espionage charges filed against him for disclosing documents about United States surveillance programs.

But Max Seddon, a correspondent for The Associated Press in Moscow, was among a group of journalists who bought tickets to board the flight to Cuba. From his seat, Mr. Seddon posted on Twitter that he did not not see Mr. Snowden on the plane that departed around 6:30 a.m.

Our colleagues Ellen Barry and Peter Baker reported, American authorities warned countries not to harbor the former national security contractor or allow him to pass through their countries in route to Ecuador or another nation where he could seek asylum.

In Moscow, reporters spent the night at the airport looking for a glimpse of Mr. Snowden. He is seeking asylum from Ecuador and traveling with people from the WikiLeaks organization who arran ged for him to travel via a “special refugee travel document” issued by Ecuador last week, according to our colleague Scott Shane who interviewed Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
Mr. Assange said he believed that Ecuador was still considering Mr. Snowden's asylum application.

Lidia Kelly, a correspondent for Reuters, is among the reporters at the Moscow airport, posting updates on Twitter about Mr. Snowden. She reported that a van drove up to the plane and some believed it was carrying Mr. Snowden who was not seen boarding the plane at the gate.

Plane moving away. White van, three blue ones gone, too.

- Lidia Kelly (@LidKelly) 24 Jun 13

Ellen Barry, a correspondent for The Times, was prevented from boarding the plane. She noted that airline personnel were trying to make it difficult for journalists to see the plane.