Both Russia and Ecuador may have known that Edward Snowden was planning to steal millions of documents from the National Security Agency before he took off with them, according to documentation from a meeting of spies from both countries.
Heat Street, an online news and commentary site associated with The Wall Street Journal, reported exclusively on Monday it has evidence of a leaked note detailing the meeting, held between the head of the Russian FSB in Cuba, Col. Alexander Kazalupov in Quito, Ecuador, and SENAIN, Ecuador's spy agency.
The meeting, held on April 4, 2013, took place in Ecuador, but the note itself came from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where it had been filed with other items under the name of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who lives at the embassy where he was granted asylum, Heat Street notes in an extensive timeline.
The document was written about a month after Snowden took a job at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to steal NSA documents. Snowden left the post on May 20, 2013, and initially was to have sought asylum in Ecuador, traveling through Cuba.
However, the United States pressured both countries to distance themselves from Snowden.
Heat Street also reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa and Assange have a connection dating back to 2012, a year before Snowden started leaking documents from the NSA.
Assange met with Correa while conducting an interview with him for his television show, broadcast on Russia's RT, and even though Snowden has always insisted he wasn't working with foreign interests or Russia, the letter suggests the country knew what Snowden was planning to take.
Heat Street also notes that Snowden wrote only one legal email to the NSA, to ask in broad concerns about legal authority without raising whistleblowing concerns. The communication went out just one day after the meeting between the Russia and Ecuadorian spies in Ecuador, and that same month, Snowden stole the top-secret documents.
In May, Snowden fled to Hong Kong; on June 21, 2013, the United States charged him with espionage, and on June 22, using an Ecuadorean travel document arranged by Assange and London's Ecuadorean consul, Snowden flew to Moscow, after being rejected by Cuba and Ecuador.
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