Confusion on Snowden acceptance of Venezuela offer
Moscow • The WikiLeaks secret-spilling site on Tuesday said NSA leaker Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela, trying to put to rest growing confusion over whether he had taken up the country's offer.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has offered asylum to Snowden and says his country received a request from the former NSA systems analyst. But Snowden, who is believed to be in a Moscow airport's transit zone, has applied for asylum in other countries as well, and it is not clear how easy it would be for him to travel to the Latin American country.
On Tuesday, a prominent Russian lawmaker tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's offer, then deleted the posting a few minutes later.
It was not possible to immediately reach Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee who has acted as an unofficial point man for the Kremlin on the Snowden affair.
But soon after the posting on his Twitter account disappeared, he sent another message saying his claim was based on a report from the state all-news television channel Rossiya 24, also known as Vesti.
The channel said Pushkov misunderstood its report on Maduro's comments Monday night during a meeting with Panama's president, which the anchorwoman introduced by saying "Venezuela has finally received an answer" from Snowden.
She then clarified that Maduro said Venezuela had received Snowden's official request.
WikiLeaks, which has been advising Snowden, said Tuesday on Twitter that Snowden had not formally accepted the Venezuelan offer, and that any decision on asylum would be announced by the "states concerned" and "then be confirmed by us."