Edward Snowden, the man who revealed that US agencies are gathering millions of phone records and monitoring internet data, has disappeared.
Snowden apparently checked out of his Hong Kong hotel where he had fled following his revelations, ahead of a probable push by the US government to have him sent back to the United States to face charges.
The National Security Agency at the heart of the scandal certainly wants him back.
Snowden had admitted he was the ‘whistleblower with a conscience’ in a video released by Britain’s Guardian Newspaper.
“He faces a very difficult situation now,” said Janine Gibson, Editor-in-Chief Guardian, United States. “He’s expressed that he would like, perhaps, to be given asylum in somewhere like Iceland which has an excellent track record on freedom of information. And perhaps that will come out for him. Clearly we wouldn’t want to see him come to any harm.”
There have already been signs that Snowden’s disclosures have some sympathy, a rally of support was held in New York while thousands have signed an online petition urging President Obama to pardon him.
However, the NSA says he has committed a criminal offence and undermined efforts to track down terrorists.