The UK government has told airlines to prevent Edward Snowden, the whistleblower behind the Prism surveillance scandal, from boarding flights into Britain.
The alert, which is dated 10 June and signed on a Home Office letterhead, told airlines they should not let Snowden fly to the UK, because he would be “highly likely” to be refused entry into the country.
Any airline that does not abide by the order could be fined £2,000 and may also have to pay costs relating to the detention and removal of the man.
Snowden, a 29-year-old ex-CIA employee, revealed himself as the source of leaked information to various newspapers about a controversial top-secret surveillance programme operated by the US government. He is believed to be currently living in Hong Kong.
The travel ban was issued by the UK Border Agency's Risk and Liaison Overseas Network. It suggests that Snowden has been marked as a security threat and hints that he may face prosecution by the US government, which has pressed charges against other whistleblowers.
If Snowden is refused entry into the UK then the UK government will not have to contend with the sticky issue of extraditing him to US authorities. The government has denied UK involvement in Prism.
RTE reports that a British diplomat confirmed the document, titled RALON Carrier Alert 15/13, as being genuine.