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WikiLeaks Says Needs Iceland Reply Before Flying Snowden

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- WikiLeaks said it needs a reply from Iceland on whether former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden will be granted asylum before it transports him to the Nordic island.

“We don’t want to fly him to Iceland if it only means that he’ll be thrown into an Icelandair plane heading toward Washington or Guantanamo Bay,” Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson, a representative of WikiLeaks, said in a telephone interview.

Snowden leaked secret documents describing two U.S. surveillance programs. He fled to Hong Kong before revealing he was the source of the leaked reports and has said he hoped to make his way to Iceland. Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy organization that publishes government documents on its website, has arranged for a plane to be on standby to take Snowden to Iceland.

Johannes Thor Skulason, an adviser to Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson , said today in a phone interview that there “conflicting reports” on whether Snowden has left Hong Kong. The premier declined to comment on Snowden today.

Gunnlaugsson said on June 19 that Snowden would have to be on Icelandic soil in order for the country to consider an asylum case.

WikiLeaks is also considering the possibility of getting Snowden Icelandic citizenship, Sigurvinsson said.

“He can be on the plane as soon as everything is set in Iceland,” he said. “We have no reason to believe that the Chinese will prevent the plane from taking off. There are methods to getting him on the plane. It may take a car ride or a boat ride, but eventually he will board an airplane.”

Snowden worked for the National Security Agency as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., which fired him after his role in leaking secrets was disclosed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Omar R. Valdimarsson in Reykjavik at valdimarsson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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