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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Snowden on the run again, leaves Hong Kong

US Justice Department couldn't properly fill out the Extradition paperwork! Isn't that a surprise....
theodore miraldi

Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency who has been charged with espionage, left Hong Kong, where he has been hiding out. The Hong Kong government said the U.S. extradition request did not comply with the law, which gave Snowden an opportunity to leave. NBC's Ian Williams reports.

By F. Brinley Bruton

HONG KONG - Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency who has been charged with espionage, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday because the U.S. extradition request did not comply with the law, the Hong Kong government said.
"Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel," the government said in a statement
Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday "through a lawful and normal channel," the Hong Kong government said. Snowden is reportedly destined for Moscow, but that may not be his final stop. "Wherever he ends up, the process will start all over again," said NBC's justice correspondent Pete Williams. TODAY's Erica Hill interviews Pete Williams.
The statement did not identify Snowden’s final destination, but the South China Morning Post newspaper reported he left on a flight for Moscow. Reuters, meanwhile, cited a source at Russia's Aeroflot airline as saying that Snowden was booked on a Moscow-Havana flight on Monday, and planned eventually to go to Venezuela.
WikiLeaks said Snowden had requested the whistle-blowing group's "legal expertise and experience to ensure his safety."
"He is bound for a democratic nation via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks," WikiLeaks said in a statement. 
The U.S. citizen fled to the Chinese city-region earlier this month in an attempt to avoid prosecution for leaking classified information about NSA surveillance programs, according to his interviews with The Guardian newspaper
Documents previously leaked by Snowden revealed that the NSA has access to vast amounts of internet data such as emails, chat rooms and video from large companies, including Facebook and Google, under a government program known as Prism. 
U.S. officials have charged Snowden with theft of U.S.government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person.   
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is being accused of sharing classified documents with people who were not cleared to receive them. Officials did not describe the charges in detail since the papers have been filed under seal, and are not publically available.  NBC's Pete Williams reports.
The statement from Hong Kong's government added:
Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.
Officials also said the government of Hong Kong had asked the United States to explain reports it had hacked into Hong Kong computer systems.
Some in the U.S. have said that Snowden is a Chinese spy, but few people in Hong Kong take that seriously.  But he fled to Chinese sovereign territory and Beijing is no doubt taking a close interest, even if it is unlikely to overtly intervene.
Hong Kong was a British colony until it was returned to China in 1997. Under what is known as the “Basic Law” – the territory's mini-constitution – it has a well-respected and autonomous legal system based on British common law, with far stronger protections for human rights and freedom of expression than exists on the mainland.
NBC News' Anna Nemtsova and Albina Kovalyova, and Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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