Gulf airlines told not to carry US whistleblower

Edward Snowden exposed US surveillance of internet, email and Facebook usage
US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
By Shane McGinley
Mon 17 Jun 2013 02:03 PM

Gulf carriers, along with most major airlines around the world, have been issued a travel alert by the British government not to allow US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to fly to the UK.

The region's airlines have not revealed what action they will take if he attempts to board one of their aircraft.

The travel alert, issued on June 10 by the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network, which is part of the UK Border Agency, contained a photograph of Edward Snowden and gave his date of birth and passport number.

“If this individual attempts to travel the UK carriers should deny boarding," it said, according to a report by the Associated Press news agency.

Snowden, who is currently based in Hong Kong, revealed himself to be the source who leaked top-secret documents detailing how the US National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring emails, phone calls and social media forums used by American citizens.

The programme, named Prism, allegedly allowed US officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats and had signed up companies such as Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google as part of the monitoring process.

The travel alert is believed to have been issued to all major airlines, including those in the Gulf. The document also said any airline which allowed Snowden to travel to the UK would "be liable to costs relating to the individual's detention and removal".

“Emirates does not comment on matters of security,” a spokesperson for the Dubai-based airline, which is the largest international carrier in the world, said when asked by Arabian Business what action it would take if Snowden attempted to board one of its aircraft to fly to the UK.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Doha-based Qatar Airways also declined to comment on the matter. The UK Home Office was not immediately available to comment on the issue when contacted by Arabian Business.

"We do not comment on individual cases," a spokesperson previously told The Guardian newspaper.

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