Risk
6/24/2013
11:07 AM
50%
50%

NSA Leaker Snowden On The Run

U.S. files charges against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is seeking asylum in Ecuador. To date, Hong Kong and Moscow have declined to detain him.

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, 30, is on the move, reportedly attempting to gain asylum in Ecuador. But after reportedly arriving in Moscow, by Monday evening Moscow time his whereabouts were unknown.

Snowden flew from Hong Kong to Moscow Sunday, where he was reportedly met on the tarmac by Venezuelan diplomats. "He has arrived. He cannot leave the terminal, since he doesn't have a Russian visa," an Aeroflot source told Russian news agency Interfax.

U.S. authorities have charged Snowden with criminal and espionage crimes relating to his leaking information about numerous NSA surveillance programs, including Prism.

But government officials in Russia, who claimed they hadn't known Snowden was Moscow-bound, declined to detain him, saying there was no warrant for his arrest issued via Interpol. "It is not a question for us," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Wall Street Journal. "We don't know what his plans are and we were unaware he was coming here." Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States.

[ Is Snowden an altruistic whistle-blower, reckless criminal, outright traitor or somewhere in between? See NSA Prism Whistleblower Snowden Deserves A Medal. ]

An Interpol official told the Wall Street Journal that the United States could have issued a "red notice" for Snowden that would have served as an international arrest warrant for Interpol's 190 member countries -- except that such notices can't be issued for espionage, which is considered to be a political crime. Interpol's charter prohibits the organization from getting involved in military, political or religious matters.

While last seen in Moscow, according to a statement issued Sunday by WikiLeaks, Snowden is ultimately "bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from WikiLeaks."

"The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden," tweeted Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño on Sunday. He told the Associated Press Monday that the Ecuadorean government has been "analyzing it with a lot of responsibility," and said its decision would factor in "freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world." While the United States and Ecuador have a joint extradition treaty -- first signed in 1872 -- it doesn't apply "to crimes or offenses of a political character."

U.S. officials revealed Friday that Snowden has been charged for leaking classified information. A one-page sealed criminal complaint filed by the FBI in federal court charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person. Each of the charges carries up to 10 years in prison. Although the complaint was filed June 14, 2013, it wasn't made public until June 21, and an accompanying affidavit still remains under seal.

As noted, by Monday evening Moscow time, Snowden's whereabouts were unknown, after he failed to show for a Cuba-bound flight. "Edward Snowden not on Aeroflot flight to Havana. But a bunch of reporters are. (Bad news for them: it's dry)," tweeted the Guardian. Why skip the Cuba-bound flight? Legal experts said that if the plane's route took it over North American airspace, U.S. authorities could have compelled it to land. Then again, it could also have been a ruse intended to throw any pursuers off Snowden's tracks.

Regardless, an unnamed Aeroflot official told Interfax that Snowden was still in the airport's transit area. "Everything has been done to allow Snowden to spend the night peacefully at the airport's capsule hotel and to fly quietly to Cuba," according to the official.

Furthermore, Snowden may eventually take a chartered plane, since WikiLeaks has offered to fly him to a destination of his choice. "The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. Snowden's rights and protecting him as a person," Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks -- and also Julian Assange's attorney -- said in a statement.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.