NSA document leaker Edward Snowden was offered political asylum by Venezuela last Friday, and if an ongoing series of reports are to be believed, he's planning on heading there. But those reports appear to be part of a chain reaction of misinformation, set off by a single tweet from Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov. Pushkov tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's offer of asylum — and his report was quickly picked up by news outlets including the AFP, the Associated Press, and Reuters.
The tweet was deleted immediately
But Pushkov deleted his tweet immediately thereafter. In subsequent posts, the lawmaker stated that he had heard of Snowden's asylum acceptance from a recent report by Vesti 24, a Russian news outlet. However, Vesti doesn't appear to be reporting the news online, suggesting that Pushkov may simply have been misinformed about the latest on Snowden's search for asylum.
BREAKING: Lawmaker close to Kremlin tweets that Edward Snowden has accepted Venezuela's asylum offer.— The Associated Press (@AP) July 9, 2013
Snowden has in fact requested asylum from Venezuela, but that doesn't mean he plans on heading there. The leaker has both requested asylum and been offered asylum at other countries, and has yet to announce a decision. For the time being, he's staying inside of a Moscow airport while he continues to look for a way to avoid extradition to the United States, which has filed charges against him for leaking documents that revealed broad surveillance programs being run by the NSA. Snowden is safe in Moscow, though there's little doubt that he's looking to leave the airport eventually.
Update: Wikileaks reports that Snowden has not formally accepted Venezuela's offer for asylum.