NSA leaker charged with espionage, theft

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Associated Press

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A criminal complaint filed against Edward Snowden could become an integral part of a U.S. government effort to have the former National Security Agency contractor extradited from Hong Kong.

A one-page criminal complaint was unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., charging Snowden with two types of espionage and theft of government property. The three crimes carry a maximum 10-year prison penalty.

Snowden is believed to be hiding in Hong Kong, after providing information to the news media about two highly classified NSA surveillance programs. The extradition process could turn into a prolonged legal battle. Snowden could contest extradition on grounds of political persecution. The extradition agreement between the U.S. and Hong Kong makes exceptions for political offenses.

Hong Kong had no immediate reaction.

Meanwhile, a business executive in Iceland says he has a private plane on standby to transport Snowden from Hong Kong to his country. Iceland's government says it has not received an asylum request from Snowden.

%@AP Links

227-a-11-(Mark Said (ZAYD), national security lawyer, in AP interview)-"just really, when"-National security attorney Mark Zaid says it's not surprising that the Justice Department has charged former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *227 (06/21/13)££ 00:11 "just really, when"

230-a-15-(Mark Said (ZAYD), national security lawyer, in AP interview)-"grant him asylum"-National security attorney Mark Zaid says the next move is likely up to Edward Snowden. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *230 (06/21/13)££ 00:15 "grant him asylum"

228-a-15-(Mark Said (ZAYD), national security lawyer, in AP interview)-"the United States (second reference)"-National security attorney Mark Zaid says the next step in the Edward Snowden case could take some time. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *228 (06/21/13)££ 00:15 "the United States (second reference)"

229-a-09-(Mark Said (ZAYD), national security lawyer, in AP interview)-"life in prison"-National security attorney Mark Zaid says Edward Snowden is facing serious charges with serious consequences -- if convicted. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *229 (06/21/13)££ 00:09 "life in prison"

220-v-31-(Jackie Quinn, AP correspondent)--A criminal complaint has been filed against Edward Snowden in the National Security Agency surveillance case. AP correspondent Jackie Quinn reports. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *220 (06/21/13)££ 00:31

221-c-16-(Jackie Quinn, AP correspondent)-"number of countries"-AP correspondent Jackie Quinn reports former government contractor Edward Snowden could face 30 years in prison if convicted on charges involving the communication of secret intelligence information. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *221 (06/21/13)££ 00:16 "number of countries"

222-c-19-(Jackie Quinn, AP correspondent)-"of fighting terrorism"-AP correspondent Jackie Quinn reports the White House was discussing Edward Snowden and the leak of classified information prior to the announcement of the criminal complaint against the former government contractor. (21 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *222 (06/21/13)££ 00:19 "of fighting terrorism"

APPHOTO WX133: This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2013. According to a Department of Justice official on Friday, June 21, 2013, a criminal complaint has been filed against Snowden in the NSA surveillance case. (AP Photo/The Guardian) MANDATORY CREDIT (9 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO WX133 (06/09/13)££

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