Icelandic businessman says plane ready to take Snowden to Iceland

Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen during a news broadcast on a screen inside a train in Hong Kong June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen during a news broadcast on a screen inside a train in Hong Kong June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

An Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks said he has readied a private plane to take Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, to Iceland if the government grants him asylum.

“We have made everything ready at our end now we only have to wait for confirmation from the (Icelandic) Interior Ministry,” Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson told Reuters. He is a former director of DataCell, a company which processed payments for WikiLeaks.

“A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the Interior Ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the U.S. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well,” Sigurvinsson said.

Neither a WikiLeaks spokesman nor the Icelandic government were immediately available for comment.

Snowden, a former employee of contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked in an NSA facility in Hawaii, made world headlines this month after providing details of the programs to the Guardian and Washington Post and fleeing to Hong Kong.

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden to seek asylum in Iceland.

The Icelandic government, which has declined to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a lawmaker for the Pirate Party in Iceland which campaigns for Internet freedom, said the only way for Snowden to travel to the Nordic country would be to have Icelandic citizenship.

Snowden has mentioned Iceland as a possible refuge.

Iceland has a reputation for promoting Internet freedoms, but Snowden has said he did not travel there immediately from the United States because he feared the country of 320,000 could be pressured by Washington.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sex offences, visited Iceland several times in the run-up to some of the website’s major releases. Assange denies any wrongdoing.

WikiLeaks and DataCell won a ruling this year in Iceland’s Supreme Court against MasterCard’s local partner.

The court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the payment card company had illegally ended its contract with the website. WikiLeaks’ funding had been squeezed without the ability to accept card payments.

(This June 20 story has been corrected to fix business title in paragraph 2 to “former director”.)

(Reporting by Robert Robertsson; Writing by Alistair Scrutton; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Money

Investing: Buying low, selling high

Learn how rebalancing can help you be successful in investing.

National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

The Word

The Word: Jennifer Lawrence among victims of massive…

It's been a while since there was a celebrity nude photo leak, so some industrious and not-at-all-creepy hackers got together to unleash one doozy of…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.