, WASHINGTON, Jun 23 – The United States was tracking Edward Snowden on Sunday as the former NSA computer technician facing US espionage charges arrived in Moscow en route for an undisclosed destination.
Snowden, who leaked secret details of vast US telephone and Web surveillance programs to media outlets, left Hong Kong despite a US extradition request and the US authorities will “pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where” he may travel, the US Justice Department said.
“The chase is on,” California Senator Dianne Feinstein said as the Snowden affair grew vastly more complicated for President Barack Obama, potentially testing US relations with Russia and other nations.
“And we’ll have to see what happens,” she said.
Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she has learned Snowden may have more material to leak – “over 200 separate items” – but how much is not certain.
“I think we need to know exactly what he has. He could have a lot, lot more. It may really put people in jeopardy. I don’t know,” she told CBS.
According to WikiLeaks, unidentified diplomats and WikiLeaks legal advisers are escorting Snowden, 30, a former employee of National Security Agency contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, in his bid to secure political asylum in a country yet to be disclosed.
US authorities filed espionage charges against Snowden last week and asked Hong Kong, where he first fled, to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant.
But Snowden boarded an Aeroflot flight for Moscow on Sunday amid Russian media reports that he would fly to Cuba and eventually Venezuela.
Snowden left his home in Hawaii on May 20 and flew to Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, from where he proceeded to leak details of the secret US intelligence programs to the Guardian and The Washington Post.
The leaks have embarrassed Obama’s administration, which was forced to defend US intelligence agencies’ practice of gathering huge amounts of telephone and Internet data from private users around the world.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer expressed disappointment on Sunday with Hong Kong for allowing Snowden to leave and with Russia for letting him go there.