Ecuador's government said Thursday that a refugee travel document issued to National Security Agency leaker is unauthorized and invalid, which likely explains why Edward Snowden, whose U.S. passport has been revoked, is approaching his sixth day in the transit lounge at a Moscow airport.
"The government of Ecuador has not authorized the issuance of any safe pass or refugee documents that allow Mr. Snowden to travel to our country," Ecuadorian Political Affairs Secretary Betty Tola told reporters in Quito.
Ms. Tola spoke after Univision TV on Wednesday broadcast pictures of an unsigned "safe pass" purported to be a travel document for Mr. Snowden, apparently issued by the Ecuadorian consul in London.
"Any document on this matter does not have any validity and is the exclusive responsibility of who[ever] issued it," Ms. Tola said.
Mr. Snowden's U.S. passport was revoked Saturday — as soon as the State Department learned he had been indicted by U.S. prosecutors on espionage charges.
Hong Kong authorities allow him to leave there Sunday, but his lack of valid travel documents will complicate his future travel.
Russian officials have said Mr. Snowden has not been admitted to their country but remains in an airport transit area. He and his traveling companion, a legal researcher from the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, were booked on a flight to Cuba Monday but never boarded it.
Philip Peters, an adviser to the Cuba Working Group in the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote this week in his personal blog that Cuba declared seven years ago it would no longer harbor U.S. fugitives.
Mr. Peters, a Cuba analyst for the Lexington Institute, noted that the State Department appeared to have endorsed this claim from Havana by including it in its survey of global sponsors of terrorism published in 2006.
"If it applies now, and if it bars layovers as well as long-term stays, then Snowden needs a Plan B, big time," Mr. Peters wrote.
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