U.S. Government ‘Disappointed’ Hong Kong Let Snowden Leave, Asks Russia to Extradite Him

American officials struggle to explain how Snowden got away.

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Glenn Greenwald / Laura Poitras / The Guardian / Reuters

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, in a still image taken from a video during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong on June 6, 2013

As the international manhunt for alleged NSA leaker Edward Snowden spanned continents on Sunday, U.S. officials struggled to explain how the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor slipped an extradition request, reportedly to seek asylum in Ecuador.

“The U.S. is disappointed and disagrees with the determination by Hong Kong authorities not to honor the U.S. request for the arrest of the fugitive, Edward J. Snowden,” a Department of Justice spokesperson said on Sunday evening.

Authorities in Hong Kong, where Snowden had been hiding out since he leaked documents on NSA surveillance programs to media outlets, said on Sunday that they found the extradition request insufficient, a finding a Department of Justice spokesperson said the U.S. finds “particularly troubling.”

American officials detailed an elongated back-and-forth with authorities in Hong Kong, beginning on June 10, when officials learned Snowden was hiding out there. Officials from the Department of Justice, the State Department and the FBI have “repeatedly” been in contact with their counterparts, according to officials.

A senior Administration official delivered a terse statement to Hong Kong on Saturday about Snowden, saying, “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.”

According to the Department of Justice, Snowden was charged on June 14 in a Virginia federal court with unauthorized disclosure of national-defense information, unauthorized disclosure of classified communication intelligence and theft of government property. A warrant for his arrest was issued that day.

U.S. officials requested Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong on June 15. They maintain that the request was complete and included all information needed to arrest and extradite Snowden to the U.S.

Two days later, Hong Kong officials acknowledged the request, according to the Department of Justice, and, despite multiple U.S. inquiries, did not ask for any more information about the Snowden case.

“The request for the fugitive’s arrest for purposes of his extradition complied with all of the requirements of the U.S.–Hong Kong Surrender Agreement,” the DOJ spokesperson said. “At no point, in all of our discussions through Friday, did the authorities in Hong Kong raise any issues regarding the sufficiency of the U.S.’s provisional arrest request. In light of this, we find their decision to be particularly troubling.”

On June 19 (or June 20 in Hong Kong), Attorney General Eric Holder called Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and encouraged him to comply with the U.S. request for Snowden’s extradition.

A day later, Hong Kong authorities requested additional information about the U.S. charges and the evidence against Snowden.

U.S. authorities were in the process of responding to the request when Hong Kong authorities allowed Snowden to fly to Moscow on Sunday. Later that day, U.S. officials were notified that their request for Snowden’s extradition was found insufficient.

Snowden is believed to remain in Moscow where he is awaiting a flight to Cuba, as he requests asylum in Ecuador.

U.S. officials questioned Snowden’s motives and travel to countries with rough, if any, ties to the U.S. government, with one senior Administration official saying it may betray a motive to harm national security.

“Mr. Snowden’s claim that he is focused on supporting transparency, freedom of the press and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador,” the official said. “His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the U.S., not to advance Internet freedom and free speech.”

Snowden’s passport has been revoked, and according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, he should not be allowed to travel except to return to the U.S.

“As is routine and consistent with U.S. regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked,” Psaki said in a statement on Sunday. “Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status. Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”

But there has been no indication from Moscow that they will honor the U.S. request, as the round-the-world manhunt continues.

UPDATE: Monday June 24, 12:05 AM:

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden issued a strongly worded statement early on Monday criticizing Hong Kong authorities as well as the Chinese government for allowing Snowden to flee the country. Additionally, Hayden invoked recent U.S.-Russian cooperation on security issues to encourage the Russian government to detain and extradite Snowden.

The full statement:

We are disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite the legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement. We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China bilateral relations.

We now understand Mr. Snowden is on Russian soil. Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters — including returning numerous high level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government — we expect the Russian Government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged.

281 comments
eagle_blue
eagle_blue

I think people is making a storm in a tea cup.

We do not want to offend anybody.

We have the United States in great regard.

The American people is nice, beautiful, honest, good, worthy, friendly, hard working, amd loved around the world.

This boy wants a better human race, a better human society. He should be forgiven for leaking information; especially if he feels he discovered some wrong-doing from the part of some agencies in United States and probably Britain.

Very probably the United States should feel proud of him, and not feel ashamed of him.

It is very understandable that some countries try to give him a little protection. And these countries are not enemies of the United States.

I do not think we should move a bulldozer or a steamroller,  a road-roller, or tank about a young idealist who wants to improve the world.

I do not think the United States has been in danger at all for what this boy has done or accomplished. 

That is the way things look like from where I am. 

I hope people go to sleep and rest and things turn out for the better.

Regio121
Regio121

a refugee seeking shelter on other countries are no required to present a valid passport, its obvious that the refugee doesn't want to be return or alert the origin country to know, for obvious reasons. US invoking such privileges are not necessary a can be used as a ID passport for identity purposes and also allowed to leave the country, once outside the country its their choice to return or not, has been done for many years.   

larryrob
larryrob

I can't help but think that if Reagan were still in office, Hong Kong or Russia wouldn't dare thumb their noses at us.

As for me, if I were in office, and a foreign government refused my request for extradition, I wouldn't "scramble the jets."  I'd simply lob a cruise missile right at his plane while it was still on the tarmac!  Enough of this c**p!  

JeffChurch
JeffChurch

Besides the mistaken middle name, there is a greater issue. HK does not prosecute political crimes and this is reflected in the special clause to exclude political crimes in the extradition treaty with the US.

One wonders how the US can be so negligent in not seeing the non-political crime clause. Why did the US use the term espionage? This should have been known to run into the non-political crime clause.

Why didn’t the US use just theft of government property just to get Snowden out of the international environment of HK?

I think this US outrage is a charade! The USA actually much prefers that Snowden left HK.

There is little chance that the Chinese mainland will trash the 1 country 2 systems arrangement and ruin the relationship with HK by upfront denying the SAR’s legal process to take its course. This means years of appeal. And whether a HK judge will allow bail for Snowden to travel within HK was an unknown.

If Snowden really preferred to be a martyr and refused to even negotiate with the US government, and spilled more beans while free to travel within HK, this will be greater unmitigated PR disaster for the US.

The situation now is not the worst for the USA. Much worse was Snowden spilling more beans in HK during the coming years of appeal.

JEdmund
JEdmund

Sticks and stones, sweetie.   I stand by my comments about Edward Snowden...And I'm better than a man, I'm a woman....;)

richmondtomhan
richmondtomhan

I think he has revealed enough and has now started investigations and citizen inquiry.  I hope he just does not reveal any sensitive files to our enemies, if he does he has ruined what he started and will become a criminal to me and many others.  Slippery slope here people. 

ThorOdinsen
ThorOdinsen

Waiting for the Help Snowden website so I can send $10,000.

MelEncolly
MelEncolly

"American officials struggle to explain how Snowden got away"

The explanation is easy: Snowden has the full support of EVERYBODY on this planet that is opposed to legalized war crimes, legalized financial fraud, legalized murder, legalized torture, legalized kidnapping and legalized intrusions on American Civi lLiberties.

In simpler terms, the U.S. government is now viewed popularly as the epitome of a totalitarian criminal organization and totalitarian criminal organizations usually draw little sympathy from the crowds. Bummer, huh? 

ForrestByers
ForrestByers

Why should any country or leadership of any country take seriously anything that comes out of the mouth of the manchild, who bears the title, Pres. of the United States of America?  Here is a man, who is the equivalent of the eternal student, still holding on to the socialist Marxist Nostrams of a college student in his 20s, when his actual age is what?  48!  The only thing he knows about business is the business of securing a little blow, smoke, what ever.  Early on they tried to pass him off as a "constitutional scholar", and what he has demonstrated of his knowledge of the Constitution while serving as Pres. is the equivalent of saying that because my dog likes to go on car rides, with his nose out  the window, my dog has the equivalent knowledge and understanding of Automobiles, that we might as well call him, Mario Andretti.  His first action as President of the United States, in terms of foreign-policy, was what has become known as "the apology tour".  This action, certainly did not instill confidence and faith that came from a neophyte, in terms of understanding global power politics.  In the past, when dictators and world leaders have needed some sort of acute medical attention, they came to the United States, primarily because our nation offered the best, most technologically advanced care in the world and yet, in pursuit of his Marxist egalitarian dreams, he forces down the throats of the electorate that does not want it, his runway takeoff plan to one shoe fits all, medical socialism, which those very same leaders, dictators and potentates, wanted no part of, at least as it has to do with their own well-being.  With the same schoolboy understanding of pseudo-science in the name of "global warming", he desires to rally round world leaders in a collectivist campfire song, singing the praises of the death of personal liberty, private property and the initiative of self-interest, so that all might have less CO2, a supposed greenhouse gas, upon which anything that is green in the world, thrives upon and which any serious developed country or aspiring, developing country leaders, would privately think to themselves, "he has got to be stark raving out of his mind, if he thinks my country will deprive itself of any meaningful development, because of his lunacy!"

So, I do not expect any serious cooperation by the rest of the world towards this Pres. because the world, expect a President of the United States to be a leader, whether they like him or his policies or not, they expect an individual, says what he means and means what he says and can effectively, by utilizing the immense capabilities of his office and with acute skills of persuasion is capable of instilling confidence in other heads of governments, so as to follow his lead.  Even if Barack Obama could understand my words, they would still make him choke, because philosophically and as an issue of character, he is simply incapable of getting the job done and the whole world knows it!  The truth is he also knows it, which justifies his violation or dismissal of the entirety of the Bill of Rights as found in the Constitution, and thus the United States of America has achieved a new low, its first, crackpot dictator and has made the country into the equivalent of a third world, used to be superpower, which can no longer feed or secure its people's well-being, much less, stripping it of all its once great dignity and pride.  The opening and revealing of nation's secrets, as an ultimate revulsion by the loss of that which made our country great, individual liberty and freedom guaranteed by obedience to the law, could very well be a small price for that which made us, proud and respected, a veritable, "city on a hill" with its Beacon of liberty, shining out to the four corners of the earth.

Our President, or Shall I Say, Our Idiot King, desires to send, what?  40,000 troops to intervene between two factions of the same death cult, called Islam.  What justifiable purpose, should one American soldier, sailor, Marine or infantryman received a hangnail, much less a scratch as interference between these two bodies of evil, purging and exhuming their taint from all of civilization.

These are truly the last days, so let us recognize the signs of His coming, even the Lord Jesus Christ, to vanquish the evil, the stupid and the proud. 

julie.wilson2034
julie.wilson2034

"Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters." 

HA! What a load of crap! Remember just a few months ago Russia caught a CIA spy attempting to recruit "agents?" He was caught with what they called a "rudimentary espionage kit" containing 2 wigs, a map, compass RFID shield, microphone etc., etc. 

Here, refresh your memory. Don't listen to the baloney above. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2324685/The-moment-US-spy-shaggy-wig-revealed-Russian-secret-service-arrested-offering-millions-agent-switch-sides.html

Rbsconfidential
Rbsconfidential

The Obama Administration has made the US the laughing-stock of the world. Our allies rightfully distrust us and our enemies (and make no mistake, Russia and China are our enemies) neither respect nor fear us. As to Snowden, although I am glad he alerted the American people about PRISM, an outrageous invasion of our privacy, he lost all my empathy when he scurried off to Hong Kong with a horde of other classified information. He needs to be hunted down if only to find out exactly what he had stolen and to whom he shared it.

12345honolulu
12345honolulu

No Matter what side your on... (1) War on terrorism does not mean to trump on the 100 million American cell phone records. (2) NSA has given no direct proof we have stopped a act of terror while spying on 100 million American cell phones... (3) SECRET COURTS - SECRET GOV HEARINGS have not proven as critical in fight on terrorism. (4) The US GOV as wealthy and resources this country has... WE CAN DO BETTER... We as a Country or Gov. can do better to respect our CONSTITUTION ... Truly that is what the a True American President would protect our CONSTITUTION ! If you can't fight a war and protect our liberty you should not be a President.. That is why other Countries are laughing at OBamo..  Our Troops have died in the name of our Constitution & Freedom & Liberty... ...Not for Obamo just so your in the know!

uhmericun
uhmericun

Russia sent Edward to Siberia, so when the State Dept ask for him, their reply will be "sorry but he's Snowden!"

Pouncekitty
Pouncekitty

No one respects Obama's criminal government except the nitwits who voted for him.  And they had no idea what they were doing.  Any more questions?

Riggs101
Riggs101

I think Obama is seen as a weak and devious Preident who hasn't the guts to call a spade a spade. He works behind the scenes plotting his real  agenda for the future of  this once great country. This transparency thing of his is total hogwash, everytime some surprise rears its head he acts like he is completely unaware. He seems to be continually plotting against his political foes.

MelEncolly
MelEncolly

At the rate with which the United States of Amerika is devolving into an evil & vindicative POLICE STATE that is willing to stoop as low as necessary to silence revelations regarding its criminal activity, I expect MORE & MORE honest Americans will start to FLEE THE USA TOO!

yarply12
yarply12

He didn't get away. They let him go. Plain and simple. Obama said he could be more flexible after the election. It's all show.

cristo52
cristo52

So Snowden snookered the NSA. And the NSA doesn't know where Snowden is. Further, the NSA doesn't really know how many secrets Snowden took. But, the NSA does have a program called PRISM that can track anyone, anywhere, for as long as the NSA likes. So, has Mr. Snowden stopped using his laptop? (Reports say he carries three) And has Mr. Snowden no use for a cell phone? Or is it that despite spending trillions and trillions of dollars on "intelligence," the current competence level of the United States government is equaled to that of the Department of Motor Vehicles in Podunk, Pennsylvania.

MichaelServetus
MichaelServetus

What should be  more disturbing to a US citizen? The leaking of classified documents or the information that was leaked showing, again, that the post 911 US government is made up of a bunch of Internet voyeurs more interested in snooping on the private lives of innocent Americans than seeking out Islamist terrorists who want to kill them?

stuka87
stuka87

We are being led by weak, liberal amateurs.

Is anyone really surprised that the world does not respect us?

JimBunion
JimBunion

People are getting killed over this. The people that are committing Treason in our Govt. will intimidate and if necessary will kill people like Snowden. Awhistle blower guy just had his  BMW  blow up and the Media won't even cover it. Breitbart was murdered. God hates cowards, time to stand up America!  Where is all the Freedom We been fighting for?

Maxwells
Maxwells

Obama has refuse to return Uighurs Gitmo terrorists back to China, instead he's sent them on vacation at US taxpayer expense, in February Obama frustrated both Russia and China by refusing condemn a terrorist attack in Damascus.

Obama's tough talk US threats that China and Russia face "consequences" is meant to excite his loyal followers in the US Media, no one else is listening. Obama's "red-line" threats are leaving him red-faced.

2fortheshow
2fortheshow

The USA Government is so clueless

John Kerry is surprised that our Allies would help  Snowden escape..Note..to John Kerry, The USA HAS NO ALLIES

Russia, China and most of the World consider the USA a Hypocritical Nation on the way down ...not up.

Snowden revealed many things

The USA was spying on European Citizens in over 20 countries. 

95% of Americans are rooting for Snowden and probably 98% of the World.  

Did you  send a child into the 9/11  Iraq and Afghanistan so called war on Al Queda 

The USA Preached to us that Al Queda was the enemy but now the USA is supporting Al Queda in the Syrian War! 

THE USA SENT MONEY AND WEAPONS TO THE AL QUADA SYRIAN REBELS AND HERE THEY ARE MAKING FUN AT THE USA  http://youtu.be/vsq5ZRir-0k


sfstreetfoto
sfstreetfoto

USA vs. the World

Game, set, match, the World

PlantationFarmHand
PlantationFarmHand

It is truly a great day to be an American.    An American described as a citizen of the land and not a slave of the US Govt.   The two are vastly different.

This country supposedly ended slavery over 100 years ago.    The actions of the USA with Mr Snowden have made it extremely clear that those in the US Govt are still very much engrained with the Plantation Mindset.   We are all Massa's property.

Snowden is the modern day runaway slave and he now is on the underground railroad running from a slave owner who wants to hobble him and whip him good for making Massa look weak and stupid.

The empire is fading away and maybe one day soon Uncle Sam will go back to defending its citizens and not oppressing them.


David_Elliott_Lewis
David_Elliott_Lewis

Exposing wrong doing and clear violations of our USA Constitution is not a crime.  Edward Snowden is courage and heroism personified. I admire him for stepping forward but fear the troubles that await. I'm sure our government is at this very moment closely analyzing every aspect of his life to find material to discredit him in their planned criminal prosecution.   Meanwhile, democracy has already benefited.  

David Elliott Lewis

OTCGlobex
OTCGlobex

Obama and the U.S. Congress are the criminals here, not Snowden.  Run, Baby, Run!

fyweb
fyweb

He is in good hands.

MikeCumpston
MikeCumpston

It seems obvious that the various mega-states are using this individual to show their contempt for the late, great United States now breatubg its last under the command of a bunch of leftist sissies

justinyam3
justinyam3

@RbsconfidentialAmerica started becoming a laughing stock 8 years before Obama even entered the White House. Obama merely continued many of the policies set in place by the previous administration, and while I'm extremely disappointed by the fact, I think it's hypocritical that people are only now screaming over the violation of their people's rights when the last president has been doing that for two consecutive terms. 

FreemonSandlewould
FreemonSandlewould

@Pouncekitty Ain't that the truth.  Snowden is a hero.  If he ends up back in the USA I'll be part of the crowd that takes to the street.   If he is convicted the only thing that will satify me is the NSA and CIA both being completely abolished and the Utah NSA  facility being torn down to the ground by a wrecking ball.

Donovan75555
Donovan75555

@MelEncolly That's cowardly. If they were honest Americans then they would fight to the death to liberate their own country. They would not just sit on the internet purposefully spelling "America" as "Amerika" and doing nothing. You mark my words, things will change here in America soon. 

MelEncolly
MelEncolly

The only thing that's "flexible" when it comes to Barack Hussein Obankster are his MORAL PRINCIPLES  and ability to speak truthfully..

MelEncolly
MelEncolly

First, it was the NSA that SNOOKERED the American People. Snowden merely revealed how. Secondly, Snowden probably knows a trick or two about how to drop off the cybermap, wouldn't you think?

Donovan75555
Donovan75555

@JimBunion The tree of liberty needs to be watered with blood once in awhile. Its late, it needed to be watered 8 years ago. But its still living, lets not neglect it any longer. We can't be afraid of ending up on government watch lists. If anything we should strive to end up on one. They should know that we are serous. 

Riggs101
Riggs101

might be a good idea to watch the movie: The Agenda - Grinding America Down. It is a realistic history since the fifties to now describing what has happened to the US and what is coming, was enlightening to say the least.

HawgzWylde
HawgzWylde

@2fortheshow  

Without the USA, the entire world would be either communist,  Fascist, or Imperialist. Without the USA, global freedom would have been lost decades ago. Without the USA many technological advancements enjoyed the world over would not exist. To say we don't have allies is towing the communist/socialist line. I see a lot of anti-USA posts here and I know who, ideologically speaking you are. If Snowden would have blown his whistle on domestic constitutional violations and stayed here to prove it, I would still be his supporter. But he didn't. He went to communist China, then Russia, next to Cuba? Then Ecuador or Venezuela? All dictatorial socialist or communist nations that are  our  sworn enemies and complete opposite our founding ideology. Why? This whole affair smells like there is a much bigger picture than we are led to believe...

JimBunion
JimBunion

@2fortheshow Did you ever think for a second, they know what they are doing?  and it is all planned out

to ruin our Country for the New World Order.  Everything they do with immigration to the Economy, Healthcare

are all destroying this Country.. They label vets as terrorist.  Think about it.

RightWingNut4
RightWingNut4

@sfstreetfoto the World? Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador The usual set. Yeah, that World progressives admire

MikeCumpston
MikeCumpston

that would be "breathing its last..."  In any case John Kerry is wiwwy mad at the wussians and tineese for diswespecting the wool of waw1.

cristo52
cristo52

@MelEncollyMy point is that NSA is seen to be omnipotent - yet with all the power and all the money, little Mikey Snowden took them down a peg or two and they still don't know what to do. I don't think Snowden is an master spy. Sure, he's a tech guy of sorts, but he only went to Bozo Allen so he could get inside NSA - the real question is, who is pulling the strings, footing the bill and arranging for his retirement dacha on the Black Sea?

reynmeistr
reynmeistr

@HawgzWylde @2fortheshow Snowden went to Hong Kong, a bastion of free press, capitalism and individual rights... a libertarian place sold out to the Reds by craven Surrender Brits

HawgzWylde
HawgzWylde

@JimBunion@2fortheshow 

Funny you say that. I've thought about this for some time. In light of all the scandals this administration is involved in. And the fact that this administration has walked all over our constitution, it wouldn't surprise me that Snowden was "allowed" to walk and talk. If these people violate our constitution so knowingly and easily, and are determined to "fundamentally change" America, what's to stop them from exposing our top classified secrets in their mission to bring down what they are "fundamentally" trying to change. Could this be intentional?

HawgzWylde
HawgzWylde

@reynmeistr @HawgzWylde @2fortheshow  

Doesn't matter what it used to be, it is now under the communists control and Chinese intell is all over it. Do you think for a minute that the Chinese, or the Russians for that matter, would let an admitted US intelligence officer carrying 4 laptops of highly classified info on US intelligence just walk off their land without gaining something? I think not...