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Old 06-10-2013, 09:50 AM   #1
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Default Hong Kong Seen as Likely to Extradite Leaker if U.S. Asked

New York Times - Found 1 hour ago
The contractor, Edward Snowden, was apparently still in Hong Kong at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. The Mira Hotel, an elegant boutique hotel on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor, said on Monday evening that he had stayed at the hotel and had checked out at that time. But it was not clear whether Mr. ...
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Hong Kong Seen as Likely to Extradite Leaker if U.S. Asked
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #2
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Journalist: Snowden fled US fearing unfair trial
Jun. 10,`13 — The American intelligence contractor who disclosed U.S. government surveillance programs fled to Hong Kong because he believed he wouldn't get a fair trial in his home country, the journalist who broke the story said Monday.
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Glenn Greenwald of the British-based Guardian newspaper said Edward Snowden chose the semiautonomous Chinese region because it was the least bad option open to him. Greenwald said in an interview that Snowden wants to remain out of the "clutches" of the U.S. government for as long as possible but is fully aware that he won't succeed. Snowden says he worked as a contractor at the National Security Agency and the CIA. He allowed the Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers to reveal his identity on Sunday as the source of a series of top-secret documents outlining two NSA surveillance programs.

The Guardian reported that Snowden arrived in Hong Kong on May 20. He checked out of the Mira Hotel on Monday and his current location is unclear. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the leaks at the request of the NSA. "If the Justice Department does end up indicting him, which almost certainly it will — it's basically inevitable at this point — he doesn't really trust the judicial system in the United States to give him a fair trial," Greenwald said in Hong Kong. "I think if he trusted the political system and the political culture in the United States he would have just remained there and said 'I did what I did and I want to defend it,'" Greenwald said.

He said Snowden chose Hong Kong because it has a history of strong political activism, free speech and respect for the rule of law. But he added that once Snowden decided to leak the information, "all of the options, as he put it, are bad options. There were no good options for him." Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997 but was allowed to retain a high degree of autonomy and its own legal system. The city has an extradition treaty with the U.S., but it contains some exceptions, including for crimes deemed political.

Greenwald said Snowden had watched with concern the court martial of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private on trial for handing a trove of classified material to WikiLeaks, and that it had raised fears for him about secrecy and "abridgement of due process." Snowden, 29, believes he will eventually end up with the same fate as Manning, Greenwald said. "I think that his goal is to avoid ending up in the clutches of the U.S. government for as long as he can, knowing full well though that it's very likely that he won't succeed and he will end up exactly where he doesn't want to be," Greenwald said.

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Leak of NSA programs tests US, China ties
Jun 10,`13 -- A day after the presidents of China and the United States ended their first summit, pledges of cooperation by the two leaders faced an early test from an unexpected quarter -- an American intelligence contractor was leaking highly sensitive U.S. surveillance programs from his hiding place in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.
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China, which has long chafed at U.S. accusations that it carries out extensive surveillance on American government and commercial operations, may now have to make a decision on how to deal with the problem presented by the 29-year-old Edward Snowden, who has come out as the source of the leaks. Cyber-security was one of the main topics during the informal summit this weekend between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama at an estate in the California desert where they also sought to build a personal relationship.

But Snowden's presence in Hong Kong has already dragged China into what would have been a domestic issue for the United States. "It's going to be seen by both sides as an unwelcome distraction," said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a China politics expert at the Hong Kong Baptist University. "This comes at a delicate time because of the Xi-Obama summit and the much bigger issues that both countries have to tackle and both governments and presidents have to discuss."

The Guardian newspaper reported Sunday that Snowden - who says he worked at the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency - is the self-confessed source of leaks about a phone records monitoring program and an Internet scouring program. Snowden was working as a contractor in an NSA office in Hawaii until he left for Hong Kong on May 20, the Guardian reported. Snowden checked out of Hong Kong's Mira Hotel on Monday. It was unclear where he went next.

U.S. officials see cybersecurity as probably the most pressing bilateral challenge, and Obama confronted Xi with specific evidence of intellectual property theft the U.S. says is coming from China. Xi said China was also a victim of cyber-attacks but did not publicly acknowledge his own country's alleged activities. The leaks about Washington's own domestic surveillance program could end up hurting U.S. efforts to pressure China on cybersecurity, said Zhu Feng, an expert on China-U.S. relations at Peking University in Beijing. "This case will hurt the U.S. bargaining power and dishonor its own credibility in charging China for cyberattacks. This is truth-telling," Zhu said. "China will likely tell the U.S., `don't be too high profile, and don't take the moral high ground.'"

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