23 June 2013 Last updated at 13:46 ET
Edward Snowden asks Ecuador for asylum
The BBC's Daniel Sandford says Edward Snowden is staying in a transit hotel before attempting to continue his journey
Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor who leaked classified documents revealing US internet and phone surveillance, has asked Ecuador for asylum.
The request was confirmed by Ecuador's foreign minister on Twitter.
Mr Snowden had fled the US for Hong Kong but flew out on Sunday morning and is currently in Moscow.
The US wanted him extradited, but the Hong Kong government said Washington had failed to meet its requirements.
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who is in Vietnam, said on Twitter: "The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden."
Wikileaks said in a statement that Mr Snowden was "bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from Wikileaks".
The announcement came after the Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia told reporters he would meet Mr Snowden and a representative from Wikileaks for talks on Sunday.
Mr Snowden arrived on Aeroflot flight SU213 and landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport at 17:10 local time (13:10 GMT).
He was picked up at the airport by either a Venezuelan or Ecuadorean embassy car.
A source at the airline company was quoted earlier as saying that Mr Snowden would fly on to Cuba.
It is unclear where Mr Snowden currently is, but he is reported to have not left the airport. An earlier report said he was booked on a Monday morning flight to Cuba.
The US and Ecuador have a joint extradition treaty, but it is not applicable to "crimes or offences of a political character".
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently sheltering in the Ecuadorean embassy in London after being granted asylum last year.
The US Justice Department has said it will seek cooperation from whichever country Mr Snowden arrives in.
"We will continue to discuss this matter with Hong Kong and pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr Snowden may be attempting to travel," Nanda Chitre, a spokeswoman for the justice department said in a statement.
US media report that Washington tried to stop Mr Snowden from travelling by revoking his passport on Saturday.
Mr Snowden had left his home in Hawaii after leaking details of his work as an NSA (National Security Agency) analyst and the extensive US surveillance programme to the UK's Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post.
He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The complaint is dated 14 June although it was made public only on Friday.
NSA chief Keith Alexander told ABC News on Sunday there had been no warning that Mr Snowden had taken the documents.
"Clearly, the system did not work as it should have," he said.
Gen Alexander also said the spying agency was overhauling its operations to tighten security on contractors, including tracking the actions of system administrators like Mr Snowden.
The leaks have led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under an NSA programme known as Prism.
Mr Snowden said earlier that he had decided to speak out after observing "a continuing litany of lies" from senior officials to Congress.
US officials have defended the practice of gathering telephone and internet data from private users around the world.
They say Prism cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the US, and that it is supervised by judges.