Transcript for NSA Leaker on the Run: From Hong Kong to Moscow
that international chase tonight. U.S. Authorities trying to track the movements of edward snowden, the man who revealed the sweeping surveillance program right here in the u.S. Tonight, he is on the run. It was just 48 hours ago, snowden learned the u.S. Charged him espionage. He faces decades behind bars. Overnight, snowden slipping out of hong kong. Abc news has learned with several laptops full of secret information. Flying to the moscow airport where it is believed he is spending the night in diplomatic limbo, booked on a flight to cuba tomorrow, reportedly a stop on the way to eck kauador, where he has officially requested asylum. Tonight, we have also learned the u.S. State department is warning countries snowden may travel through that he is a wanted criminal and any countries helping him would be hurting their relationship with the u.S. We have team coverage across the globe tonight from hong kong to moscow to washington, and we lead off with abc's chief investigative correspondent, brian ross. Reporter: U.S. Authorities were caught offguard by snowden's sudden departure to moscow, thinking they had boxed him in back in hong kong. But officials there told abc's gloria river gloria riviera that the formal u.S. Arrest request and criminal charges filed last week were badly flawed. Reporter: The hong kong statement cited a failure by the u.S. To prove snowden's actions were illegal under expedition law, saying the u.S. Neglected to provide sufficient information, and saying, quote, there was no legal basis to restrict mr. Snowden from leaving hong kong. Repor SNOWDEN WAS Allowed to board the flight to moscow early today before the u.S. Could address any problems. Well, I'd like to find out why our papers were not in compliance. That would be a big mistake by the department of justice. Hong kong, whether under the influence of beijing or not, should have made every effort to return him to the united states. Reporter: Snowden's u.S. Passport was revoked only yesterday. Apparently not in time to prevent his escape on a route being arranged by the wikileaks group. After spending the night at the moscow airport, snowden is booked on a flight tomorrow to cuba, apparently en route to ecuador. Countries only too glad to defy the u.S. Late today, the foreign minister of ecuador said snowden requested political asylum in his country. Now, not only has snowden evaded the u.S. Arrest warrant, but he is defecting with four laptops full of the country's most sensitive secrets, as he described to "the guardian" newspaper. I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the nsa, the entire intelligence community and undercover assets all around the world. Reporter: In an abc news exclusive, general keith alexander, head of the nsa, told george stephanopoulos on "this week" there was nothing honorable about snowden. It's clearly an individual who has betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him. This is an individual who is not acting, in my opinion, with noble intent. And brian's with us here in new york. Brian, as you reported, the arrest request, hong kong saying badly flawed. The passport revoked too late? What's going on here? Reporter: Well, american authorities don't buy this badly flawed reason. They think that's contrived by hong kong, perhaps on behalf of the chinese. As to the passport revocation, the charges against him were FILED ON JUNE 14th, IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY, JUNE 22nd, THAT THE State department revoked his passport. And lots of questions tonight about why it took so long to do that. With his plan already under way. Brian ross, thank you. As you heard brian report there, it is believed snowden is still in moscow tonight, whisked to a location inside the moscow airport, right after his flight arrived. Abc's kirit radia is at that airport tonight. Kirit? Reporter: David, at the airport here in moscow today, there's only one thing that's clear. That edward snowden arrived today and that he's leaving tomorrow. But like everything else about edward snowden, the rest is a complete mystery. Nobody has actually seen him today. He was reportedly whisked away by official cars that met his plane on the tarmac. We spoke to passengers on that flight who saw those cars, but they had no idea that snowden was on board. It's believed that snowden's been in the care of ecuadorian diplomats, who are expected to escort him on the rest of his journey. He is reportedly spending the night in a hotel. He doesn't have a russian visa, so he can't leave the airport. Meanwhile, the kremlin insists it knows nothing about snowden's travel plans, but it is clear that russian officials have no plans to stop him here.
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