Britain Asks Airlines Worldwide To Block US Surveillance Programme Leaker Snowden

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

Airlines worldwide have been asked by Britain to block American Edward Snowden, who leaked details of US government telephone and internet surveillance programmes from boarding any plane headed for the United Kingdom.

The report said British officials confirmed a travel alert from its Home Office issued on Monday telling airlines to deny Snowden from boarding because “the individual is highly likely to be refused entry to the UK”.

Snowden, a former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who travelled to Hong Kong before the programmes were made public, revealed on Sunday that he was behind leaked information describing the American government’s surveillance efforts.

Various airlines in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore confirmed the alert, according to the AP, which said it learned of the British letter to airlines from a photograph of the request seen at an airport in Thailand.

A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Airport Authority said it has not received any notice from British authorities requesting that airlines block Snowden.

Snowden has said he plans to stay in Hong Kong to fight any effort to bring him back to the United States to face charges. He also spoke of seeking asylum in Iceland.

A spokesman for Britain’s Home Office declined to comment on the AP report as did a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron. US officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd declined to confirm the British request or the AP report, saying it was “inappropriate” to discuss government communications. Other airlines could not be immediately reached or had no immediate comment.