The United States formally requested the extradition of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden from Hong Kong for leaking national security secrets.
The request for extradition was formally filed one week ago with Hong Kong, but its contents were disclosed to the public only on Friday. The Obama administration is asking for Snowden to be transferred to the United States “in accordance with the US/Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders,” said Caitlin Hayden, White House spokeswoman.
The US government is accusing Snowden of illegally revealing classified national defense information, theft of government property and details of “communications intelligence.” As of now there has been no sign of Hong Kong complying with the request.
“If Hong Kong doesn’t act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law,” a senior US official, asking not to be named, said on Saturday.
Snowden has admitted to having leaked information concerning a NSA surveillance program.
“Extradition can, of course, be a lengthy legal process,” said a senior U.S. law-enforcement official, also requesting anonymity. “But we are confident, based on the strong history of law enforcement cooperation between Hong Kong and the U.S., that at the end of that process, Hong Kong will extradite Mr. Snowden.”