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Thread: NSA Leaker Edward Snowden charged with espionage

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    Default NSA Leaker Edward Snowden charged with espionage

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    US charges NSA leaker Snowden with espionage

    Federal prosecutors file espionage charges against NSA leaker Snowden

    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.
    By Pete Williams and Becky Bratu, NBC News
    Federal prosecutors filed espionage charges against alleged National Security Agency leaker*Edward Snowden, officials familiar with the process said. Authorities have also begun*the process of getting Snowden back to the United States to stand trial.

    The charges were filed June 14 under seal in federal court in Alexandria, Va. -- and only disclosed Friday.
    Snowden has been charged with three violations: theft of government property and two offenses under the espionage statutes, specifically giving national defense information to someone without a security clearance and revealing classified information about "communications intelligence."
    Each of the charges carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
    Snowden, who is a former employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton,*leaked details about far-reaching Internet and phone surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post earlier this month. He revealed his identity while in Hong Kong, where it is believed he is still hiding.
    Top intelligence officials told Congress on Tuesday that the*programs made public this month have helped foil more than 50 terrorist plots since Sept. 11, including one to blow up the New York Stock Exchange.
    President Barack Obama defended the programs in an interview with Charlie Rose of PBS on Monday. He stressed that it was important to him to set up checks on the system.
    Officials said charges against Snowden were delayed because the United States and authorities in Hong Kong have been going back and forth to make certain that whatever charges the U.S. filed would conform to the extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
    The U.S. has filed a "provisional arrest warrant," formally asking the police in Hong Kong to arrest Snowden. Because the FBI has no jurisdiction outside U.S. borders, U.S. prosecutors must ask local police to make the arrest.
    The arrest would start the formal extradition process in court, which will be governed by Chinese law and could take several months to resolve. *
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday said members of his anti-secrecy website have been in contact with Snowden's lawyers and are helping him seek asylum in Iceland.

  2. #2
    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting ^

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    Iceland says they will take him. I wonder if that's a better alternative.
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    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    Ugh, Iceland. Poor guy.
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    At least he won't be living in an embassy like Julian Assange. Also, when a team of US FBI agents showed up in Iceland and demanded access to their electronic networks, they were sent packing -

    According to the [report from RUV], a private plane landed at Reykjavķk airport in August 2011 and onboard were FBI agents who had flown directly from the U.S. to Iceland with the mission to investigate WikiLeaks operations in the country as a part of a larger investigation into the organization. The FBI agents reportedly contacted the head of the national Icelandic police, as well as the head prosecutor in an attempt to gain access to all available information on WikiLeaks.
    When Home Secretary Ögmundur Jónasson found out about the FBI's visit, he met with the FBI agents, whom he told that the Icelandic government wouldn't permit a foreign power to run their own investigations within the country. Jónasson then ordered the FBI agents to return to the U.S., and after a special meeting of the cabinet about the inicident, Foreign minister Össur Skarphéšinsson was then charged with formally protesting against the United States' behavior."

    ETA: Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador. He has met with Venezuelan embassy officials in Moscow.
    Last edited by olivia; June 23rd, 2013 at 12:48 PM.
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    Elite Member Ravenna's Avatar
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    Apparently he is seeking asylum in Ecuador:

    "Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor who leaked classified documents revealing US internet and phone surveillance, has asked Ecuador for asylum.

    The request was confirmed by Ecuador's foreign minister on Twitter.

    Mr Snowden had fled the US for Hong Kong but flew out on Sunday morning and is currently in Moscow.

    The US wanted him extradited, but the Hong Kong government said Washington had failed to meet its requirements.

    Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who is in Vietnam, said on Twitter: "The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden."

    Wikileaks said in a statement that Mr Snowden was "bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from Wikileaks".

    The announcement came after the Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia told reporters he would meet Mr Snowden and a representative from Wikileaks for talks on Sunday."

    BBC News - Edward Snowden asks Ecuador for asylum

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    Strange reactions by the USA to the Snowden situation. From an NYT article -

    "David H. Laufman, a former federal prosecutor in the United States, said it appeared that the Obama administration had flubbed Mr. Snowden’s case in at least two ways.
    “What mystifies me is that the State Department didn’t revoke his passport after the charges were filed” on June 14, Mr. Laufman said. “They missed an opportunity to freeze him in place.”
    He also said he was puzzled by the decision to unseal the criminal charges on Friday, possibly prompting Mr. Snowden to flee. The standard practice in such cases is to unseal the charges only after the defendant is in custody, he said. "

    My husband takes this to mean that we don't really want to capture Snowden, that the USA is leaving him doors open to seek asylum and be gone.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Snowden Seeks Asylum from 21 Countries, Gets Eight “No” Answers

    We still don't know where NSA leaker Edward Snowden, still technically "in transit" in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, will end up next. But now that more than a third of the countries from which he's applied for asylum have said "no," we can get a good sense of where he's not going.

    To wit: Austria, Finland, India, Ireland, Norway, Poland, and Spain have all denied Snowden's application, most on the grounds than an applicant must be on their soil before he or she can be granted asylum status. (India appeared to give a blanket "no.")

    We can add those seven countries to Ecuador, which backed far away from Snowden and his asylum request this weekend, and Russia, from which Snowden himself withdrew his application after Putin said he would have to stop leaking NSA documents.

    Snowden's next destination will therefore likely come from one of the remaining 12 countries from which he's sought asylum: Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland or Venezuela.

    Of these, only Venezuela has made any kind of comment—and of these, only Venezuela's head of state is currently in Russia.

    "We think this young person has done something very important for humanity," President Nicolas Maduro told reporters yesterday, saying that the country would consider Snowden's asylum request, but refused to comment on whether he'd take Snowden back to Caracas with him in his presidential jet.

    Of course, there's one more possibly next destination for Snowden: The U.S.

    Update: That's a "no" from Brazil, too
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    interesting piece from foreign policy on the snowden affair and u.s.-russia relations


    Taking in Snowden didn't go exactly as the Kremlin had planned.


    The Snowden case provides both a reality check and an interesting insight into U.S.-Russian relations. Here are the facts: Edward Snowden, a whistleblower to some and a traitor to others, was certainly not a Russian spy. His arrival at Sheremetyevo International Airport was part of a complicated plan that had gone awry. Snowden was handed off by China, let down by Ecuador, and then got stuck in Moscow. Russia did not expel Snowden to the United States, but neither did it use him as a propaganda asset by giving him asylum and allowing him to hold press conferences. Moscow's fragile relationship with Washington was strained as a result, but Russia demonstrated that it is one of the few countries in the world that is prepared to stand up to the United States.

    One can only guess at what level a decision was taken in Moscow allowing Snowden to board the Aeroflot flight in Hong Kong bound for Sheremetyevo. It is certainly true that Russia's state-run media trumpeted the former CIA employee's revelations -- including the details of the PRISM program, the eavesdropping on conversations of G20 leaders, and the snooping on EU delegations in Washington and New York -- as evidence of the "true nature" of U.S. foreign policy, confounding Washington's claim to the moral high ground. Like Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, in the Kremlin's eyes, has played a useful function in exposing what President Putin calls U.S. government hypocrisy.

    This is, however, where Russia's collaboration stopped. Putin may have been sympathetic to helping Snowden reach some safe haven where the United States would not be able to get him, but he was adamant that Russian security services had never tried to "work with him." The Russian president also suggested -- unbelievably to many Americans -- that Moscow's price for granting Snowden asylum would be his agreement to stop any further leaks that damaged, as Putin put it, "our American partners." The Kremlin leader does not mind, to say the least, Snowden's revelations, which cut the U.S. government's ethical pretensions down to size, but he does not want Russia to serve as a platform for Washington's current public enemy number one -- not eight weeks before President Obama is scheduled to visit Moscow. Putin's terms were clear: If Snowden agrees to keep mum, he may stay; if he insists on talking, he should leave. The problem, of course, was that no one would take him.

    Where does the Snowden case leave us with respect to U.S.-Russian relations? Those Russian officials who were evidently involved in organizing Snowden's passage from Hong Kong to Latin America via Sheremetyevo probably sought to capitalize on the U.S. government's embarrassment in compensation for the recently increased U.S. and European criticism of the Kremlin's policies. The plan, however, went awry. By the time he reached Sheremetyevo, Snowden's U.S. passport had been revoked, and no promised travel documents from Ecuador had arrived. Russia, which had been meant to be a mere conduit in the operation, suddenly became Snowden's temporary home.
    No one should have expected Moscow to simply hand over the American fugitive to U.S. officials: Russia, after all, is not a U.S. ally. One can easily imagine Putin asking whether, if a "Russian Snowden" turned up at JFK, he or she would be immediately extradited to Moscow -- or awarded some freedom prize instead. A rhetorical question. Scores of Russian citizens who have fallen afoul of the Kremlin populate the United States (and the United Kingdom), and Moscow's demands for their extradition have been routinely rejected.

    Moscow had hoped to pay a minimal price for co-organizing Snowden's passage, but it did not become afraid of Washington when things went wrong. American attempts to pressure the Russians, as John Kerry appeared to do at one point, only hardened their stance. "We never extradite anyone [to the West], and nobody extradites anyone to us," Putin quipped. "At best, we exchange people."
    As potential swaps are concerned, the Russians have their wish list ready. It includes the arms dealer Viktor Bout and the commercial pilot Alexander Yaroshenko, both arrested outside the United States, brought to America for trial, and sentenced to long prison terms. Moscow also wants a mutual extradition treaty with the United States, which Washington balks at, ostensibly because the Russian constitution -- like France's, which has such an agreement with the United States -- prohibits extradition of Russian citizens. These are pipedreams. President Obama has publicly refused "barter deals," and the U.S. Congress is unwilling to hand over fugitive Russians, other than common criminals, to their authoritarian government.

    The Snowden case also exposed interesting features and fissures within the non-Western world. Beijing benefited most from the incident because it conveniently blunted Obama's accusations of Chinese hacking at precisely the time of the Obama-Xi meeting last month. By welcoming Snowden to Hong Kong, the special status of which does not interfere with the Chinese public security ministry's freedom to operate, Beijing was probably able to look into the laptops Snowden was carrying. Finally, China was able to wash its hands of the whole affair by handing Snowden off to Aeroflot for onward journey. True, it has not escaped all U.S. criticism for its behavior, but the price was slight in comparison to the payoff in both propaganda and intelligence.

    The Latin Americans have been more mercurial. Ecuador, which had been expected to deliver travel documents to Snowden so that he could pass through Sheremetyevo, has failed to do so. Bolivia was furious over the treatment of its presidential plane in Europe's skies, especially since it was not smuggling Snowden out of Moscow. Cuba has been keeping a very low profile throughout, at a time when Raul Castro is seeking improved relations with the United States in order to help revive the Cuban economy. Of the Latin leftists, that leaves only Venezuela and Nicaragua as potential safe havens. It is now crucial for Moscow that either Caracas or Managua accept Snowden, and do so soon. Venezuela's Maduro must have heard that directly from Putin in Moscow 10 days ago. The Russian leader certainly has no interest in keeping the American at Sheremetyevo, as Obama is scheduled to visit Russia in early September.

    In hindsight, Russia obviously miscalculated when it allowed Snowden to board the Moscow-bound flight. It then managed to put on a brave face and demonstrated its ability to stand up to the United States by refusing to bow to Washington's pressure. Unlike China, however, Russia has gained nothing from the Snowden incident. Moreover, it has had to accept the problems that Snowden brought with him. Looking ahead, Edward Snowden's case will probably not wreck the upcoming U.S.-Russian summit. His stay in Sheremetyevo, however, has definitely contributed to the already charged atmosphere of U.S.-Russian relations. A "repeat of the reset" will not do. The relationship needs new software.

    Aeroflop - By Dmitri Trenin | Foreign Policy

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