By Julian Pecquet - 07/09/13 02:57 PM EDT
NSA leaker Edward Snowden has accepted Venezuela's offer of asylum, a key Russian lawmaker tweeted Tuesday.
Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of Russian Duma's international affairs panel, tweeted that Snowden had accepted the offer from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The tweet was deleted soon after it was posted.
“Predictably, Snowden has agreed to Maduro’s offer of political asylum,” Pushkov tweeted in Russian, according to Russia Today. “Apparently, this option appeared most reliable to Snowden.”
Pushkov later tweeted that his information came from a Russian newcast.
“Address your questions to them,” he tweeted.
Snowden's options have dwindled however as the Obama administration has exercised considerable pressure on countries to turn him over to the U.S. Justice system and not to let him fly over their territory. Last week, a flight carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was diverted to Austria and searched on suspicions that Snowden was on board.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned Monday of consequences after Maduro made his offer.
“As in all of our communications with foreign governments regarding Mr. Snowden, we have advised the government of Venezuela of the felony charges against him and urged that he should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than as necessary to return him to the United States,” Psaki said.
“We certainly feel that … any country granting asylum to Mr. Snowden would create grave difficulties in our bilateral relationship, and that's a message that we've conveyed publicly and, of course, privately in conversations as well.”
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