Did NSA leaker Edward Snowden accept asylum in Venezuela?
The question remains open after Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov Tweeted Tuesday that the former CIA employee had accepted refuge in the South American nation, according toThe Associated Press. But minutes later, Pushkov, who has close ties to the Kremlin, deleted the message, according to reports.
Snowden, 30, has been in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than two weeks as he tries to elude U.S. authorities who want him on criminal espionage charges.
Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have said they would grant the former NSA contractor asylum, and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has said he would reject any attempts at U.S. extradition.
If Snowden has agreed to accept asylum in Venezuela, it’s unclear how he might make it there. His U.S. passport has been revoked and most commercial flights from Moscow pass through nations that cooperate with U.S. authorities. Speculation has centered on a direct Moscow-Havana flight.
The new revelations come as the Organization of American States is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss an incident last week when Bolivia’s presidential aircraft was diverted in Europe amid suspicions that Snowden was on board.