NSA leaker Edward Snowden, helped by WikiLeaks, heads to Ecuador via Russia

The computer technician who faces criminal charges for leaking details of U.S. spying programs left Hong Kong on Sunday to seek asylum in Ecuador, reigniting debate over his conflicted status as either a champion for personal privacy or a traitor who might curry favor with hostile nations.

Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old who had top-secret clearance and disclosed the government’s collection of phone records and a program that tracks some foreigners’ Internet activity, revealed his plans through a statement from WikiLeaks — founded by leaker Julian Assange — after reports he departed the Chinese city bound for Moscow and then a new haven from American authorities seeking his arrest.

Lawmakers from both political parties cried foul Sunday over the short list of Mr. Snowden’s reported destinations, which included Latin American nations with unfriendly attitudes toward Washington.

“The freedom trail is not exactly China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, told “Fox News Sunday.”

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