Edward Snowden’s empty plane seat sparks parody Twitter account

25 Jun 2013

The reported seat 17A on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Cuba that had been assigned to Edward Snowden. Photos of the empty seat have been circulating on Twitter

A new parody Twitter account personalising the seat that was to have been occupied by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden on a flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, yesterday, has already attracted nearly 2,000 followers.

Snowden, who worked for Booze Allen Hamilton, went rogue and revealed activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US, such as the alleged PRISM programme, said to have monitored the servers of internet giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

Snowden had arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday, apparently en route to Ecuador, where he has sought political asylum, The Independent reported.

Yesterday, he was to have boarded Aeroflot flight No SU150, direct to Havana, and the airline even confirmed his seat number: 17A, in economy class.

In what suggests an elaborate ruse, the plane took off without Snowden. Dozens of Russian and international journalists who were chasing him were now bound for Cuba on a 12-hour flight.

When the plane landed in Havana, there was still no sign of the 30-year-old, but a Twitter account titled 17A and sporting the handle @SnowdensSeat was very much visible on the social network.

The first tweet from the account reads, “I feel empty,” and other messages follow, such as, “Getting a lot of angry looks from journalists around me. Deadlines probably looming. Also, no booze served.” and “They are showing The Man Who Wasn’t There by the Coen brothers, love it! MT @JohannaWhyte: @SnowdensSeat How’s your inflight entertainment?”

The profile photo to the account is reportedly of the actual seat on the plane and a couple of other photos on the account are of flight maps.

But where in the world is Edward Snowden?

Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, who himself has received asylum from Ecuador, said last night Snowden is in good health and in a safe place, The Independent reported.

“We are aware of where Edward Snowden is. He is in a safe place and his spirits are high,” Assange said. “Due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration we cannot go into further detail at this time.”

Assange added that regarding travelling from Hong Kong, Snowden received a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadoran government.

WikiLeaks has helped Snowden with his travel plans and with legal assistance.


Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic