Snowden charged with espionage, theft
WASHINGTON (AP) — Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who says he revealed that the National Security Agency collects Americans’ phone records and Internet data from U.S. communication companies, now faces charges of espionage and theft of government property.
Snowden is believed to be in Hong Kong, which could complicate efforts to bring him to a U.S. federal court to answer charges that he engaged in unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information.
In addition to those charges, both brought under the Espionage Act, the government charged Snowden with theft of government property. Each crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The one-page criminal complaint against Snowden was unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., part of the Eastern District of Virginia where his former employer, government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, in McLean.
The complaint is dated June 14, five days after Snowden’s name first surfaced as the person who had leaked to the news media that the NSA, in two highly classified surveillance programs, gathered telephone and Internet records to ferret out terror plots.
Hong Kong silent so far on extradition, but some lawmakers say China should decide on Snowden
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether a former National Security Agency contractor should be extradited to the United States now that he has been charged with espionage, but some legislators said the decision should be up to the Chinese government.
Edward Snowden, believed to be holed up in Hong Kong, has admitted providing information to the news media about two highly classified NSA surveillance programs.
It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government had no immediate reaction to the charges against Snowden. Police Commissioner, Andy Tsang, when was asked about the development, told reporters only that the case would be dealt with according to the law. A police statement said it was “inappropriate” for the police to comment on the case.