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U.S. Files Espionage Charges against Snowden
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A court document unsealed on Friday at a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia showed that Edward Snowden has been charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person. Though the affidavit accompanying the complaint remains sealed, the single page complaint, dated June 14, mentioned the last two charges were under the U.S. Espionage Act, 1917.

The Washington Post reported that in the 96 years since enactment of the Espionage Act, it has been used to obtain only nine indictments – with six of them being under the Obama administration.

The Washington Post reported that the United States has asked Hong Kong to make a provisional arrest of Snowden.

  
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However, Hong Kong’s Chinese-language news publication, Apple Daily, reported quoting police sources that anti-terrorism officers in Hong Kong had contacted Snowden and had arranged a safe house for him, and also providing him protection.

Last month, Snowden, who worked as a contractor for the NSA, fled to Hong Kong and informed journalists of sweeping surveillance by the NSA of both U.S. citizens and foreigners with compliance from big U.S. based internet companies like Facebook and Google. Tech companies were prohibited from speaking up about the NSA requests, and were compelled to comply under orders of a secret court.

The prosecutors are expected to file an indictment within the statutory sixty days from filing the initial complaint and then move for extradition.

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Meanwhile, the government of Iceland has confirmed of receiving a message from WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson for considering providing Snowden with asylum. An Icelandic businessman, Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson has apparently confided to Reuters that he has a plane ready in China to fly Snowden to Iceland, if the Interior Ministry of the country granted asylum and protection against extradition to Snowden.





 

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