Snowden charged with espionage

The federal government formally charged Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property for leaking top secret deails of US surveillance programs.

CNN:

The United States has asked Hong Kong, where Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain the former National Security Agency contract analyst on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The complaint charges Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. The latter two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act.

Snowden, 30, has admitted in interviews he was the source behind the leak of classified documents about the NSA's surveillance programs. Those leaks were the basis of reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post this month. The Guardian revealed Snowden's identify at his request.

The documents revealed the existence of top-secret surveillance programs that collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and monitor the Internet activity of overseas residents.

The revelation rocked the Obama administration and U.S. intelligence community, raising questions about secret operations of the NSA and whether the agency was infringing on American civil liberties.

Obama, top legislators and national security officials defend the surveillance programs as necessary to combat terrorism and argue that some privacy must be sacrificed in a balanced approach.

They say the law allows collection of metadata, such as the time and numbers of phone calls, and that a special federal court must approve accessing the content -- listening to the call itself.

Snowden's only chance to stay out of jail for the rest of his life is to avoid capture or seek asylum someplace sympathetic. He mentioned Iceland as a possible destination, but Iceland is a member of NATO and the repercussions for the tiny country might be severe if they shelter someone the US considers a spy.

Perhaps Snowden's only chance to see daylight again is to throw himself on the mercy of the government. Obama may, as a final gesture toward his base, pardon or commute the young man's sentence.

But the US has to capture him first, or get whatever country in which he has sought refuge to hand him over. That may prove difficult since Snowden has probably tapped into a network of anti-American hackers to hide him, and perhaps even a foreign government.

Unless he returns voluntarily, we probably won't see him on US soil anytime soon.


The federal government formally charged Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property for leaking top secret deails of US surveillance programs.

CNN:

The United States has asked Hong Kong, where Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain the former National Security Agency contract analyst on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The complaint charges Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. The latter two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act.

Snowden, 30, has admitted in interviews he was the source behind the leak of classified documents about the NSA's surveillance programs. Those leaks were the basis of reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post this month. The Guardian revealed Snowden's identify at his request.

The documents revealed the existence of top-secret surveillance programs that collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and monitor the Internet activity of overseas residents.

The revelation rocked the Obama administration and U.S. intelligence community, raising questions about secret operations of the NSA and whether the agency was infringing on American civil liberties.

Obama, top legislators and national security officials defend the surveillance programs as necessary to combat terrorism and argue that some privacy must be sacrificed in a balanced approach.

They say the law allows collection of metadata, such as the time and numbers of phone calls, and that a special federal court must approve accessing the content -- listening to the call itself.

Snowden's only chance to stay out of jail for the rest of his life is to avoid capture or seek asylum someplace sympathetic. He mentioned Iceland as a possible destination, but Iceland is a member of NATO and the repercussions for the tiny country might be severe if they shelter someone the US considers a spy.

Perhaps Snowden's only chance to see daylight again is to throw himself on the mercy of the government. Obama may, as a final gesture toward his base, pardon or commute the young man's sentence.

But the US has to capture him first, or get whatever country in which he has sought refuge to hand him over. That may prove difficult since Snowden has probably tapped into a network of anti-American hackers to hide him, and perhaps even a foreign government.

Unless he returns voluntarily, we probably won't see him on US soil anytime soon.


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