A planeload of journalists just departed Moscow’s Sheremetyevo for Havana, Cuba, on the expectation that NSA leaker Edward Snowden would be onboard. The theory was that Snowden, who fled Hong Kong on Sunday, was heading to a safely anti-US country en route to seeking asylum Ecuador. But then the doors on Aeroflot’s flight #150 from Moscow to Havana closed, and Snowden was nowhere to be seen.
Standing next to Edward Snowden’s seat on flight to Cuba. He ain’t here. pic.twitter.com/NVRH3Pzved — max seddon (@maxseddon) June 24, 2013
Miram Elder of the Guardian—the newspaper that broke the Snowden-NSA story in the first place—narrowly missed making the Aeroflot flight, to her belated good fortune. According to the Guardian’s live blog, she said that “Aeroflot officials had told her ‘with a little smirk’ that they had been expecting Snowden too.” She pointed out that despite the numerous reports that he was in the Moscow airport, no reporters had actually seen him there, and there is “no real evidence that he had ever been in Russia at all.”
Did Snowden and Wikileaks just pull a switcheroo? The journalists on the Aeroflot flight will have plenty of time to concoct their own theories in the 12 hours it will take them to get to Havana. And in one final, cruel twist, they won’t even be able to drown their sorrows: Aeroflot doesn’t serve alcohol on its Cuba-bound flights.