UK Border Agency issues travel alert on Snowden to airlines

A UK Border Agency travel alert to airlines carries NSA whistleblower Snowden's name, age, passport number and photograph and reads: ''If this individual attempts to travel the UK: Carriers should deny boarding," the Associated Press reported yesterday.

The warning adds, ''The individual is highly likely to be refused entry to the UK.'' The warning was also seen at an airport in Thailand and had also been distributed in Malaysia and Singapore, according to reports.

The order, written on Home Office letterhead outlines how airlines could be subjected to a £2,000 fine if they brought Snowden to the UK, adding that airlines could also ''be liable to costs relating to the individual's detention and removal.''

A UK diplomat confirmed the authenticity of the alert yesterday adding that the Home Office had likely judged Snowden's presence in the UK as contrary to the ''public good''.

Snowden, 29, became the focus of media attention last Sunday after admitting from a Hong Kong hideout that he was the leak behind a series of exposes on secretive and highly controversial National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programmes.

Snowden reportedly flew to Hong Kong on 20 May disappearing from a luxury hotel where he had been staying and till yesterday his exact whereabouts remained unknown.

Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Guardian newspaper, in his first substantive discussion with Snowden via encrypted online chat, said Snowden had one fear - that the disclosures he was making, momentous though they were, would fail to trigger a worldwide debate as the public had already been taught to accept that they had no right to privacy in the digital age.

He writes at least in that regard, Snowden could rest easy, given that the fallout from the revelations by the paper was intense and growing.

He writes Snowden's actions fell under the meaning of the term ''whistle-blowing'' defined as exposing secret government actions so as to inform the public about what they needed to know, to prompt debate, and to enable reform.

From US polling data itself it was clear that the revelations had resonated quite powerfully with the public at large, even as Washington mounted a sustained demonisation campaign against him. According to a Time magazine poll, 54 per cent of Americans believed Snowden did "a good thing", while only 30 per cent disagreed in an approval rating higher than the one enjoyed by both Congress and President Obama.