Espionage: The fight over Edward Snowden’s future intensifies
The US government has formally asked Hong Kong authorities to extradite NSA leaker Edward Snowden to the US for prosecution of espionage charges. But appeals of extradition requests can last years.
The world knows that NSA leaker Edward Snowden is somewhere in Hong Kong – not in the luxury hotel where he was videotaped talking about his bombshell revelations regarding top secret National Security Agency surveillance programs gathering telephone and Internet metadata from millions of individuals, but “in a safe place,” the South China Morning Post reported Saturday.Skip to next paragraph
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Earlier reports had put Mr. Snowden in a safe house under police protection.
But wherever he is for the moment, “experts say time is running out for Snowden if he intends to leave Hong Kong and seek asylum elsewhere,” the English-language newspaper reported. “His fate may depend on when the Hong Kong police seek a provisional warrant for his arrest from a local court in light of charges in the United States, a legal procedure the Post understands was still being worked Saturday night.”
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Meanwhile, White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told CBS News Saturday that the US has formally asked Hong Kong authorities to extradite Snowden.
"We believe that the charges presented, present a good case for extradition under the treaty, the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong," Mr. Donilon told CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller. "Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case."
Michael di Pretoro, a retired 30-year veteran with the FBI who served from 1990 to 1994 as the legal liaison officer at the American consulate in Hong Kong, said "relations between US and Hong Kong law enforcement personnel are historically quite good."
"In my time, I felt the degree of cooperation was outstanding to the extent that I almost felt I was in an FBI field office," Mr. di Pretoro told the Associated Press.
The United States and Hong Kong have a standing agreement on the surrender of fugitives. However, Snowden's appeal rights could drag out any extradition proceeding.