spy games

Edward Snowden Has a Long, Expensive Way to Go

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Fall Out Boy departs a private jet at Los Angeles Airport before their performance on the roof of the Pacific Stock Exchange Building as part of MTV's
Something like this. Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images/2007 Getty Images

WikiLeaks has promised, cryptically, that NSA leaker Edward Snowden will launch “the first phase” of his “Flight of Liberty” campaign today. A since-deleted tweet from a Russian lawmaker yesterday indicated that the ultimate destination would be Venezuela, although at this point asylum isn’t the issue — it’s getting there. U.S. allies in Europe showed an unwillingness to allow use of their airspace last week, when Bolivia’s president was made to land in Vienna over unfounded rumors that Snowden was aboard, so the fugitive and his helpers will have to get creative. And that can get expensive.

A former CIA analyst suggested a private jet, which could run up to $200,000, but might be able to make it to Caracas from Russia — where, as far as we know, Snowden remains at Sheremetyevo Airport — without refueling. “Leave Moscow,” he offered. “Fly north to the Barents Sea, thence over to and through the Denmark Strait. Continue south, steering clear of Newfoundland until getting to the east of the Windward Islands. Fly through some convenient gap between islands and continue on to Caracas.”

That’s about a 6,800-mile trip. It would likely require a benefactor willing to piss off the U.S.(Additional elaborate routes can be found here.)

The riskier option would be a commercial flight to Cuba, no stranger to being on America’s bad side. “Where it gets more interesting is if they try to put him on an Aeroflot Russian Airlines flight nonstop to Havana, Cuba,” an aviation expert told CNN. “The smart move would be to put him there as a passenger and hope nobody notices.” Good luck pulling that off.

Edward Snowden’s ‘Flight of Freedom’