Edward Snowden checks out of hotel, whereabouts unknown

Edward Snowden has reportedly checked out of the hotel in Hong Kong where he had holed up to leak a series of NSA documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post. The US will not say if it is seeking his extradition. His whereabouts are not presently known by various news-agencies, though it seems likely that he, himself, knows where he is.

Hong Kong's broadcaster RTHK said Mr Snowden checked out of the Mira hotel on Monday.

Reuters news agency quoted hotel staff as saying that he had left at noon.

Ewen MacAskill, a Guardian journalist, told the BBC he believed Mr Snowden was still in Hong Kong.

The Chinese territory has an extradition treaty with the US, although analysts say any attempts to bring Mr Snowden to America may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.

US spy leaker Edward Snowden 'missing' in Hong Kong [BBC]


  1. His whereabouts are not presently known by various news-agencies, though it seems likely that he, himself, knows where he is.


      1. I suppose that – most of the time – very few of us actually require our own locations on a need-to-know basis. Or at least that used to be true until the state started to invade our personal spaces. Perhaps we should be tracking ourselves more – as a ‘matter of course’ (hah).

  2. Perhaps he is trying to get to an embassy of a country he thinks he can get asylum from, and perhaps American spooks will try to intercept him on the way. His best bet would be to get a ride from the hotel to the embassy from a friendly diplomat, if he can find one; this would make it tough for the bad guys to grab him.

    1. It’s not as if he’s taken by surprise here. I’m sure he anticipated the US government night be upset, and has a plan. I hope it’s a good one.

    2. He said that Iceland would be his first choice and a few hours later Birgitta Jonsdottir announced she had started the practice for him. I don’t know how safe Iceland would be for him, to be honest (as much as we all love Birgitta, she’s not all-powerful, she’s just a very active MP and not even in government atm, iiic ).

      Then again, it might all have been a cover to mask a move to the Ecuadorean embassy or other similarly bizarre destination. This guy was a real spook for a few years, right after blowing the whistle he stepped into the open completely unprovoked, he’s probably the least predictable person you could ever meet.

      1.  If be “real spook” you mean computer tech, then you’re right. If you’re insinuating that the guy was some sort of low level James Bond, think of this – out of the approximate 100,000 employees at the NSA, roughly 30,000 are active duty Military with the other 70,000 (including Snowden), being contractors. The NSA wouldn’t go to the trouble of trainging an IT guy to be the next Remo Williams (although that WOULD be pretty badass) when they already have 30,000 Military guys they can teach tradecraft to. As was mentioned elsewhere in these comments, he most likely headed to the Icelandic Embassy.

        1. He was stationed abroad and had access to very detailed operation material, to the point that it could describe specific operations; that’s a low-level spook, but still a spook to the layman. He’s also tried to join some elite force, the fact he didn’t complete any training course doesn’t mean he didn’t start some of them.

          1. He only stopped and got out because both his legs were broken during the training, and the spell of the dream of being in Special Forces had worn off, along with the opiates, when the pain of rehab set in.

    3.  He’s in China.  Hong Kong is part of China. I’m sure the Chinese would be taking an immense interest.  I doubt US agents would be easily able to kidnap him with all the Chinese surveillance going on around him. 

      1.  im becomming more and more unlcear about the actual systemic difference between the USA and China.

      1.  Not “the” bad guys, just one set out of a cast of thousands.

        I get the feeling Snowden is more worried about drone strikes than about extradition. In his shoes, I wouldn’t reveal my location even if I did find “shelter” with a hospitable government.

      1. smartass laptop sticker: YOU LIVE IN A SURVEILLANCE STATE followed by a liberal choice of smug logos of open-source security tools (Tor, gnupg etc etc).

        1. I like it.  Or slap a big, fat “NSA” sticker on your laptop, just for the scare factor.

        2. I think with some “other tools” on your laptop as well, you could put this sticker on there instead:

          This Laptop Kills Surveillance States

      2.  Maybe it’s the new state nickname of Maryland? Top of license: “The Surveillance State” with a picture of NSA HQ in the background.

    1. Dude, I know! I was all like, not America! We have too many bald eagles and miniature flags.. And now, it’s like I wake up and, bam bam biggity BAM! We have a Surveillance State! 

  3. On Monday’s Democracy Now:

    Amy Goodman: “We understand that Edward Snowden has checked out of the hotel he has been in for the last weeks.  Glenn, do you know where he is?”
    Glenn Greenwald: “I .. do, although I’m not going to share that with (heh) anybody.”

  4. Even the daily handout financial press here in London is against all this:

    … the present system – mass, indiscriminate surveillance, with big firms either co-opted despite their denials or tapped in to, with very little genuine scrutiny – is not right. The US constitution appears to have been brazenly defied. Simply stating, as many have done, that none of the revelations of the past few days ought to have come as a surprise is not good enough.
    The balance between government and individuals has been surreptitiously changed; with free speech under threat, traditional liberties are facing their gravest threat since the second world war. In the US, journalists have been put under surveillance and conservative groups hostile to the present administration persecuted by the tax authorities. There are endless instances of officials abusing their powers in a scandalous fashion. In the UK, the snoopers’ charter would do nothing to make us safer.

    The state would reduce crime if it introduced hidden microphones in every home, and tapped every conversation in every pub, in every car and train, and in every workplace – but the costs to privacy would be unacceptable. We would no longer be a free society. In the same way, while the authorities need to be able to track down terrorists, their remit needs to be strictly limited and debated openly. There needs to be as much judicial supervision as possible.

    So here is the challenge: we need to rediscover libertarian principles while simultaneously taking security concerns seriously. Do I know what the detailed solution should look like? No, but it is clear that the current road won’t lead us anywhere pleasant. Whoever gets the balance right will have cracked an age-old dilemma, one that even the Greeks didn’t resolve.


    1. Would it be cynical of me to class this as the crocodile tears of business people having their commercial secrets passed on to foreign competitors? It’s certainly the reason some UK folk take ‘clean’ PCs with them on business trips abroad and pull the real stuff from home once they’re past customs.

      1.  Yes, I believe that it WOULD be whiny ass “business” people (more like hidden Oligarchs) afraid lest all their “business” secrets get up and run away.

        1.  Just like the rest of us, business-people are subject to state-sponsored blackmail. “Rat on your friend or we’ll expose your predilection for hentai anime.” would be a potent threat against most CEOs.

      2. No, not cynical, as I’m sure that’s a massive issue for business people.

        But Allister Heath is as good a realistic and rational economist / journalist as we’re going to get in this day and age, and he certainly nailed the issue.  I’ve followed him for years, and he has no fear of sacred cows, although he’s not a radical; that said, he doesn’t pander to his readership.

        I don’t like everything he writes, but do have to work my brains to position against him – he’s well educated, keeps his finger on the pulse (e.g. early adopter of the ‘Additive manufacturing is changing everything’ philosophy).

        1.  conservative groups hostile to the present administration persecuted by the tax authorities.

          Citing a RW talking point non-scandal doesn’t help your case.

          1. I get that citing the financial press is dog-turd roast at the BB table.

            But CityAM is a mixed bag of treats.  Below I cited another article from today written by the general secretary of the “No2ID” campaign here in the UK.  So it’s not your average stuffed shirt paper.  It’s like something Scandinavian.

            I track this guy because he’s remarkably aware and lucid, and free-minded.  It helps massively understand how the system works to absorb multiple points of view.

            My point is anarchist or not, that paper with a massive readership of capitalists is overtly criticizing the NSA scandal and stating in clear and lucid terms why it matters.

            That readership is influential.  Your enemy’s enemy may not be your friend, but when they’re working radically in favour of your objectives, it’s worth paying attention.

          2. Hold it – RW talking point – it took me a moment.  Right Wing.  Right.

            I have no idea about that.  But if Obama’s administration is using covert or sideways mechanisms to enhance their own political agenda, that’s as bad as the right doing it to the left.

            The point is – the enhanced capabilities of the state  (whether we like those or not) should not be used in bad faith, by anyone, for any purpose.

            Heath isn’t siding – he’s being clear.  He’s torn it out of Palin, Bush, everyone in the past.

            Does the LW do this?  If they do, they’re as fucking bad as the RW.

          3.  Howay man, The Dems are right-wing by pretty much any other developed nation’s standards.

          4.  It’s a RW talking point because it’s simply not true. But it gets the viewers at home all upset and contribute-y.

            If it were true that the administration had directed the IRS to ‘target’ individual conservative groups, that would be a serious scandal. Good thing that never happened!

      1. Yeah, not to over-sell but Allister Heath is pretty much a balanced mind.  It’s amazing he’s editor of the paper.

          1. The Metro!  I tried to enjoy it, I really did, but failed miserably, to my eternal shame.

            CityAM, although business and finance focused, and although it talks about a world which makes my eyes pop, seems to be accurate and truth-telling without being titillating.

  5. I have a few friends in Hong Kong who would definitely provide him shelter.
    NSA are you reading this?

  6. Dear NSA, 

    He is not in my NJ backyard. Not at all, nope. In fact he is not currently sipping an Arnold Palmer in a hammock between two maples.


    (HA! Joke’s on them. I don’t even HAVE a backyard OR a hammock!)

    1.  Yes, but this guy might actually be in a real boat, floating on real water, not docked in a back yard on a trailer.

  7. A wee thought, and question to tech-minds.

    Given the proliferation of phones, couldn’t each act as a node in a network, so that you could send messages (or data) without them ever touching a surveillable path?  You would have delay in speed, as the path the message took would require phone hopping, but the message would never be detectable short of adding spyware to our phones.  Encryption, obviously.

    If a node can’t transmit “forward” in a network, it would buffer until it could.


    1. You’ve just described an implementation of mesh networking.  Switch out “phones” for “everyone’s home router” and you can find some groups working to make it happen.  Switch out “phones” for “modems” and you have FIDOnet.

      1. Cool.  So it’s impossible to read information from that alternative network?

        In my thought example you’d use the bluetooth or wireless capabilities of the phones so nothing ever transmits over a line that can be monitored – i.e. more secure than a VPN of any description, like having paper cups with strings.

        Home routers … great, if not connected to a network.

        I’ve been watching how the telcos in Africa failed to meet the needs of the people, so the people set up their own mobile stations.  Off-grid as such.  That was the seed of the (amateur) thought.

      1.  Or simply for smartphone comms.  The more people freak out about the invasion of privacy, the more people would be happy to let validated bluetooth connections form as they walk around.

        The only reason the NSA can do this, and the US can monitor for instance US$ movements around the world, is the passage through US control.

        Neither makes any sense if you want liberty and privacy.  We have everything at our disposal to change this, within a year!

  8. Well, I hope he is enacting a plan he made before outing himself.  I really hope he hasn’t just been vanished – either by the US or China.

    Though China is not necessarily a friend to the NSA, they aren’t going to see someone like Snowden as anything but a possible asset/information source combined with an inconvenient hassle.  Much easier to just vanish him, interrogate everything he knows about everything out of him.  Everyone would blame the NSA.

    1. America probably knows a lot about China that they’re not telling us. If these leaks become more widespread, some Chinese government officials could get more exposure than they would like, or some idealistic Chinese official could try something similar. There could also be some communication between China and the US regarding other countries that could cause an incident if it were known. It’s hard to tell what China would do, but it could be in their interests to see him brought to the US as a warning to others. Whether it would be in their interests to be seen to be helping with his extradition is another question.

      In any case, this being China, I find it very difficult to imagine that they know nothing of his whereabouts.

  9. The McGuffin in all this intrigue is a powerpoint presentation?  Why does he need reporters to promote his slide deck?  He couldn’t just post it on the web in a dozen places and email it to 1000 people? 

    Anybody here could hoax up a powerpoint presentation better than whatever he’s peddling. 

    This sounds like another “Million Little Pieces” or “Hitlers Diaries” hoax. 

    1. Naw, there’s other stuff too.  Get on youtube and start watching some of the longer vids there.  You’ll see.

  10. Snowden has fled to Mordor, where he reportedly intends to throw his laptop into Mt. Doom. 

    1.  Sadly, the tech is easily replicated.  Sauron has thousands of little Gollums working away.

      To the NSA doofus reading this, yes, you are Gollum.  You don’t rate Orc or Nazgul.

  11. OMG, the Mira!?  I stayed there (as a MAJOR splurge) — it’s one of the most gorgeous, modern, and trendy hotels in Hong Kong.  Believe me, “holed up” is NOT the term for anyone with a room at the Mira.  He certainly wasn’t stinting in the first days of his self-imposed exile!

    1. It’s probably a bit harder to be dragged out of there by a squad in black ski masks.

      1. That’s assuming anyone would bother with masks.  Believe me, the staff was so obsequious and polite, I’m certain they would have smilingly and unquestioningly opened the doors for the small number of men it would have taken to “contain” an unarmed geek without showing undue interest in the private business of its clients.

  12. As I understand the situation; He managed to escape in the chaos that arose when the NSA raided the wrong hotel room (the room happened to contain Islamist militants who were preparing to strike an International Conference that was taking place nearby)…  I heard that a Hungarian security consultant and a Chinese hacker are trying to find Snowden in order to get him to safety.

    1.  Ah, then he is likely in the process of crashing a plane in Northern BC about now, and will soon kidnap a software magnate.  Would that it were so.

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