SNOWDEN ON THE RUN: Leaker Flies To Russia, Heading To Cuba And Then Venezuela [REPORTS]

snowdenA banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is displayed at Hong Kong’s financial Central district on June 21, 2013.

The former government contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked U.S. national security documents, has left Hong Kong and flown to Moscow, according to many news reports.

He may be headed to Cuba and then Venezuela.

At about 11 p.m. EDT, Snowden left a government safe house in Hong Kong and flew to Moscow, where he arrived at about 9 a.m. EDT.

Kelvin Chan of The Associated Press reports that, according to Russia’s state ITAR-Tass news agency, the 30-year-old ex-Booz Allen employee intends to fly to Cuba on Monday and then on to Caracas, Venezuela. (Previously, Snowden expressed a desire to seek asylum in Iceland.)

“He chose such a complex route in the hope that he will not be detained and he will be able to reach his final destination — Venezuela — unhindered,” a person “familiar with the situation” told Russia’s Interfax news service.

Before his identity was revealed on June 9, Snowden chose to flee to Hong Kong because he said it was a place “with the legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained.”

On Friday the U.S. revealed it had filing three criminal charges against him and asked the Hong Kong police to detain Snowden under a joint extradition treaty.

Instead he decided to bolt for Russia while the request made its way through Hong Kong’s convoluted extradition process.

Snowden leaked the first concrete evidence of the NSA’s domestic surveillance apparatus when he gave Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald “thousands” of classified documents.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.