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Authorities Search Bolivian President’s Plane for Edward Snowden

Returning from a summit in Russia, the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was searched in Vienna after being suspected of harboring fugitive Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower is reportedly still in the transit area of the Moscow airport. Ray Suarez reports on the search for Snowden and the diplomatic fallout in Europe.

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    The diplomatic fallout over NSA leaker Edward Snowden and the revelations he's provided took another turn today.

    Ray Suarez has the story.


    Bolivian President Evo Morales boarded his plane in Vienna today, hours after being stranded at the airport, as Austrian authorities, with his permission, searched the aircraft in vain for fugitive Edward Snowden.

    Returning from an energy summit in Moscow last night, Morales landed in Vienna after being denied entry to Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish airspace, a move that enraged Bolivian authorities.

  • DAVID CHOQUEHUANCA, Bolivian Foreign Minister:

    Portugal needs to explain to us, France needs to explain to us why they canceled permission to use their airspace. They want to intimidate us. It is discrimination towards our president. It has endangered the life of president.


    But today there was confusion as those countries denied refusing Morales passage. And in Vienna, Morales told reporters it's unclear why he was suspected of harboring Snowden in the first place.


    Of course, how can we have on our plane a person who is having problems with another country? We are very responsible in what we do and we are also very responsible as regards to international agreements.


    Snowden himself remains out of sight, reportedly still in the transit area of the Moscow airport as he applies for asylum in some 20 countries. The U.S. government has issued broad warnings to countries considering those requests, and many have already declined or said Snowden must be on their soil to apply.

    For its part, La Paz has accused the U.S. of pressuring the European countries to block Morales' plane. In Washington today, a State Department spokeswoman wouldn't confirm or deny that.

  • JEN PSAKI, State Department Spokeswoman:

    We have been in contact with a range of countries across the world who had any chance of having Mr. Snowden land or even transit through their countries, but I'm not going to outline when those were or what those countries have been.


    As the fight for Snowden's fate drags on, there's new fallout over the classified documents he revealed. The Guardian newspaper in London cited those when it reported Sunday the U.S. has been spying on the European Union missions in New York and Washington, as well as on the embassies of dozens of other countries.

    Meanwhile, in Europe, France said it's delaying trade talks with the U.S. by two weeks. And Germany's foreign minister announced his country will send a delegation to Washington next week to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss how the U.S. gathers intelligence.

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