LA PAZ, Bolivia – The plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales home from Russia was rerouted to Austria on Tuesday after France and Portugal refused to let it cross their airspace because of suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board, the country’s foreign minister said.
Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca denied that Snowden was on the plane, which landed in Vienna, and said France and Portugal would have to explain why they canceled authorization for the plane.
“We don’t know who invented this lie. We want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales,” Choquehuanca said from La Paz. Morales had earlier met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit of major gas exporters in the Kremlin.
Leaks by Snowden, a former NSA systems analyst, have revealed the NSA’s sweeping data collection of U.S. phone records and some Internet traffic.
He is believed to be in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from one of more than a dozen countries.
Choquehuanca said that after France and Portugal canceled authorization for the flight, Spain’s government allowed the plane to be refueled in its territory. From there the plane flew to Vienna.
Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg told the Associated Press that Snowden is not with Morales and that the Bolivian president was spending the night at a Vienna hotel.