WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday (June 24) that Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who is wanted by the U.S. government for his role in revealing details of a secret American surveillance program, is "healthy and safe" after departing Hong Kong for a destination that, to the dismay of American authorities, is still not entirely clear.

"Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on the 23rd of June, bound for Ecuador via a safe path through Russiaand other states. Mr. Snowden has submitted an asylum application to Ecuador and possibly to other countries. The Ecuadorian foreign minister, Patino, has said that the asylum application is being carefully considered. Mr. Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. The current status of Mr. Snowden and Miss Harrison: both are healthy and safe," Assange said.

"We are aware of where Mr. Snowden is. He is in a safe place and his spirits are high. Due to the bellicose threats coming from the U.S. administration, we cannot go into further details at this time.

(Reporter interrupting: Can you just say what country he is in. Just to follow up, can you tell us what country he is in right now?)

Unfortunately, we cannot reveal what country he is in at this time," he said.