REYKJAVIK – A chartered private jet is set to bring U.S. intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden to Iceland from Hong Kong, a businessman connected to the website WikiLeaks said Thursday.
“Everything is ready on our side and the plane could take off tomorrow,” Icelandic businessman Olafur Sigurvinsson, head of WikiLeaks partner firm DataCell, told Channel2 TV.
“We have really done all we can do. We have a plane and all the logistics in place. Now we are only awaiting a response from the (Icelandic) government,” he said. DataCell handles donations to WikiLeaks.
The jet belongs to a Chinese firm and was chartered at a cost of more than $240,000, thanks to individual contributions received by DataCell, he said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday he had been in contact with representatives of Snowden to discuss his possible bid for asylum in Iceland following his disclosure of massive U.S. surveillance programs.
Iceland has said it held informal talks with a Snowden intermediary about the possibility of seeking political asylum, but that he must present himself on Icelandic soil.
However, observers say Iceland’s new center-right coalition may be less willing to anger the United States than its leftist predecessor.
Interior Minister Hanna Kristjansdottir said Tuesday that the government does not feel bound by a 2010 resolution by parliament seeking to make the country a safe haven for journalists and whistle-blowers from around the globe.
“The resolution is not a part of the laws that apply to asylum seekers,” she told public broadcaster RUV.