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With former NSA contractor Edward Snowden now in Moscow, lawyers for the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks say he will now seek political asylum in Ecuador on the grounds that his whistleblowing disclosed criminality by the U.S. government, which would protect him from extradition.

Snowden this weekend boarded a plane from Hong Kong, where he’d been at an undisclosed location since leaving Hawaii on May 20, to Moscow with lawyers and other activists associated with WikiLeaks. The group’s founder, Julian Assange, last week told reporters that his organization was providing Snowden with legal advice and support, and a statement from the group on Sunday said he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.” Assange himself has spent more than a year at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid the prospect of extradition to the United States over the mass leak of diplomatic cable leaks to his group from U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who is now being court-martialedmore than three years after his arrest, most of it spent in arduous confinement.

The Daily Beast |