MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) – Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has said that his email account was broken into by an unknown hacker after diplomatic correspondence discussing former CIA intelligence expert Edward Snowden, currently thought to be hiding in Russia's Sheremetyevo airport, was published by The Wall Street Journal.
“They have already accessed my email. They found a letter with apologies that [anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange sent me a couple of days ago. What else will they do?” Patino wrote on Twitter late Sunday.
Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s London Embassy since Quito granted him asylum last year, sent a letter to Patino that expressed his regret, “if we have unwittingly causing Ecuador discomfort in the Snowden matter," The Wall Street Journal reported. Assange has been outspoken in his support for Snowden, who is wanted in the US for leaking state secrets, and a Wikileaks representative, Sarah Harrison, was reported to be accompanying him when he flew into Moscow.
Ecuador appears to be backtracking on a reported offer of refuge to fugitive Snowden, whose sojourn in the transit area of Sheremetyevo outside Moscow is now entering its second week.
A letter of safe passage issued to Snowden by Ecuadorian officials in London was a “serious error,” Ecuador President Rafael Correa told The Associated Press news agency on Sunday.
Snowden, who has had his US passport revoked, may have used the letter of safe passage when he took a flight from Hong Kong to Moscow on June 23.
Ecuador would consider an asylum request from Snowden if he reached Ecuador, or an Ecuadorian embassy, Correa said, but added that he understood Snowden was unableto leave Sheremetyevo airport, according to The Associated Press. “At this moment he [Snowden] is under the care of the Russian authorities,” Correa said.