“Hong Kong silent so far on Edward Snowden extradition”

June 22, 2013

The Independent on June 22, 2013 released the following:

Associated Press

“Hong Kong has remained silent thus far on whether former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden should be extradited to the United States now that he has been charged with espionage, but some legislators said the decision should be up to the Chinese government.

Edward Snowden, believed to be holed up in Hong Kong, has admitted providing information to the news media about two highly classified NSA surveillance programs.

The Hong Kong government had no immediate reaction to the charges against Snowden. Police Commissioner, Andy Tsang, when was asked about the development, told reporters only that the case would be dealt with according to the law. A police statement said it was “inappropriate” for the police to comment on the case.

When China regained control of Hong Kong in 1997, the former British colony was granted a high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms not seen on mainland China. However, under the city’s mini constitution Beijing is allowed to intervene in matters involving defence and diplomatic affairs.

Outspoken legislator Leung Kwok-hung said Beijing should instruct Hong Kong to protect Snowden from extradition before his case gets dragged through the court system. Leung also urged the people of Hong Kong to “take to the streets to protect Snowden.”

Another legislator, Cyd Ho, vice-chairwoman of the pro-democracy Labour Party, said China “should now make its stance clear to the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government” before the case goes before a court.

China has urged Washington to provide explanations following the disclosures of National Security Agency programs which collect millions of telephone records and track foreign Internet activity on US networks, but it has not commented on Snowden’s status in Hong Kong.

A formal extradition request, which could drag through appeal courts for years, would pit Beijing against Washington at a time China tries to deflect US accusations that it carries out extensive surveillance on American government and commercial operations.

Snowden’s whereabouts have not been publicly known since he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel on June 10. He said in an interview with the South China Morning Post that he hoped to stay in the autonomous region of China because he has faith in “the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.” Tsang said in interview broadcast on local television that he could not comment when asked about a local newspaper report that Snowden was in a police “safe house.”

Snowden and his supporters have also spoken of his seeking asylum from Iceland.

A prominent former politician in Hong Kong, Martin Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said he doubted whether Beijing would intervene at this stage.

“Beijing would only intervene according to my understanding at the last stage. If the magistrate said there is enough to extradite, then Mr. Snowden can then appeal,” he said.

Lee said Beijing could then decide at the end of the appeal process if it wanted Snowden extradited or not.

The process could become a prolonged legal battle, with Snowden contesting extradition on grounds of political persecution.

Hong Kong lawyer Mark Sutherland said that the filing of a refugee, torture or inhuman punishment claim acts as an automatic bar on any extradition proceedings until those claims can be assessed.

“Some asylum seekers came to Hong Kong 10 years ago and still haven’t had their protection claims assessed,” Sutherland said.”

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas C. McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal crimes:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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“Snowden extradition battle in Hong Kong could go on for years”

June 22, 2013

Reuters on June 22, 2013 released the following:

“By James Pomfret

(Reuters) – A former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor charged with spying by the United States and in hiding in Hong Kong is expected to be the subject of a formal extradition request at any time in what could drag into a legal battle lasting years.

Since making his revelations about massive U.S. surveillance programs, legal sources in Hong Kong say Edward Snowden, 30, has sought legal representation from human rights lawyers as he prepares to fight U.S. attempts to force him home for trial.

U.S. authorities have charged Snowden with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person, with the latter two charges coming under the U.S. Espionage Act.

The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty which came into effect in 1998, a year after Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule. Scores of Americans have been sent back home for trial since then.

While espionage and theft of state secrets are not cited specifically in the treaty, equivalent charges could be pressed against Snowden under Hong Kong’s Official Secrets Ordinance, legal experts said.

If Hong Kong authorities did not charge Snowden with an equivalent crime, authorities could not extradite him, lawyers said. In the absence of charges, Snowden was also theoretically free to leave the city, one legal expert said.

Simon Young, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said that while the first charge involving theft might readily find equivalence in Hong Kong, the latter two spying offences will likely attract “litigation and dispute” in the courts.

The timeframe for such proceedings remains unclear, but Hectar Pun, a lawyer with human rights expertise, was quoted as saying such an extradition could take three to five years.

Under Hong Kong’s extradition mechanism, a request first goes through diplomatic channels to Hong Kong’s leader, who decides whether to issue an “authority to proceed”. If granted, a magistrate issues a formal warrant for the arrest of Snowden.

Once brought before the court, the judge would decide whether there was sufficient evidence to commit Snowden to trial or dismiss the case, though any decision could be appealed in a higher court.

Snowden could claim political asylum in Hong Kong, arguing he would face torture back home. Article six of the treaty states extradition should be refused for “an offence of a political character”.

“The unfairness of his trial at home and his likely treatment in custody” were important factors to consider for Snowden, said Young, the law professor, on Snowden’s chances of claiming political immunity from extradition.

Should a Hong Kong court eventually call for Snowden’s extradition, Hong Kong’s leader and China could, however, still veto the decision on national security or defense grounds.

Snowden has admitted leaking secrets about classified U.S. surveillance programs, which he said he did in the public interest. Supporters say he is a whistleblower, while critics call him a criminal and perhaps even a traitor.”

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal crimes:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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“Confessed NSA Leaker Holed Up In Hong Kong Hotel”

June 10, 2013

NPR on June 10, 2013 released the following:

Confessed NSA Leaker Holed Up In Hong Kong Hotel

by Frank Langfitt”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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“NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Seeks Asylum”

June 10, 2013

The Fiscal Times on June 9, 2013 released the following:

“By BARTON GELLMAN and AARON BLAKE, The Washington Post

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former undercover CIA employee, unmasked himself Sunday as the principal source of recent Washington Post and Guardian disclosures about top-secret National Security Agency programs.

Snowden, who has contracted for the NSA and works for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, denounced what he described as systematic surveillance of innocent citizens and said in an interview that “it’s important to send a message to government that people will not be intimidated.”

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said Saturday that the NSA had initiated a Justice Department investigation into who leaked the information — an investigation supported by intelligence officials in Congress.

Snowden, whose full name is Edward Joseph Snowden, said he understands the risks of disclosing the information but felt it was important to do. “I’m not going to hide,” Snowden told The Post from Hong Kong, where he has been staying. The Guardian was the first to publicly identify Snowden, at his request. “Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest.”

Asked whether he believed his disclosures would change anything, he said: “I think they already have. Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”

Snowden said nobody was aware of his actions, including those closest to him. He said there wasn’t a single event that spurred his decision to leak the information. “It was more of a slow realization that presidents could openly lie to secure the office and then break public promises without consequence,” he said.

Snowden said President Obama hasn’t lived up to his pledges of transparency. He blamed a lack of accountability in the Bush administration for continued abuses. “It set an example that when powerful figures are suspected of wrongdoing, releasing them from the accountability of law is ‘for our own good,’” Snowden said. “That’s corrosive to the basic fairness of society.” The White House did not respond to multiple e-mails seeking comment and spokesman Josh Earnest, who was traveling with the president, said the White House would have no comment Sunday.

A brief statement from a spokesperson for Clapper’s office referred media to the Justice Department for comment and said the intelligence community was “reviewing the damage” that had been done by the leaks. “Any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law,” the statement said.

Snowden also expressed hope that the NSA surveillance programs would now be open to legal challenge for the first time. Earlier this year, in Amnesty International v. Clapper, the Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the mass collection of phone records because the plaintiffs could not prove exactly what the program did or that they were personally subject to surveillance.

“The government can’t reasonably assert the state secrets privilege for a program it has acknowledged. The courts can now allow challenges to be heard on that basis,” Snowden said.

Snowden said he is seeking “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy,” but the law appears to provide for his extradition from Hong Kong to the United States. Hong Kong is a semiautonomous territory of China, but while the United States doesn’t have an extradition agreement with China, it has had one with Hong Kong since 1998.

This means that the U.S. government could indict Snowden and seek to bring him back to American soil.

Such proceedings can take months and even years, but extradition expert Douglas McNabb said Snowden has not put himself in a favorable position. “The fact that he outed himself and basically said, from what I understand he has said, ‘I feel very comfortable with what I have done,’that’s not going to help him in his extradition contest,” McNabb said. “I am very surprised by the way that he’s handled it.”

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said the revelation of Snowden’s role in the leaks would lead to a sweeping re-examination of security measures at the CIA and NSA, and described his apparent decision to come forward as a stunning conclusion to a week of disclosures that had already rattled the intelligence community. “This is significant on a number of fronts: the scope, the range. It’s major, it’s major,” said John Rizzo, former general counsel of the CIA, who worked at the agency for decades. “And then to have him out himself… I can’t think of any previous leak case involving a CIA officer where the officer raised his hand and said, ‘I’m the guy.’”

A half-dozen former intelligence officials, including one who now works at Booz Allen Hamilton, said they did not know Snowden or anything about his background. Still, several former officials said that he easily could have been part of a surge in the number of computer experts and technical hires brought in by the agency in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as its budget and mission swelled. “Like a lot of things after 9/11, they just went on a hiring binge and in the technical arena young smart nerds were in high demand,” a former U.S. intelligence official said. “There were battalions of them.”

Officials said that the CIA and other spy agencies did not relax their screening measures as the workforce expanded. Still, several officials said that the agency would undoubtedly now begin reviewing the process by which Snowden was hired, seeking to determine whether there were any missed signs that he might one day betray national secrets. More broadly, the CIA and NSA may be forced to reexamine their relationships with contractors, who were employed in roles ranging from technical support to paramilitary operations before concerns about the outsourcing of such sensitive assignments prompted a backlash in Congress and pledges from the agencies to begin thinning their contracting ranks.

Some former CIA officials said they were troubled by aspects of Snowden’s background, at least as he described it in his comments to the Guardian. Snowden said he did not even have a high school degree. One former CIA official said it was extremely unusual for the agency to have hired someone with such thin academic credentials, particularly for a technical job, and that the terms Snowden used to describe his agency positions didn’t match internal job descriptions.

Snowden’s claim to have been placed under diplomatic cover for a position in Switzerland after an apparently brief stint at the CIA as a systems administrator also raised suspicions. “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials,” the former CIA official said. The agency does employ technical specialists in overseas stations, the former official said, “but their breadth of experience is huge and they tend not to start out as systems administrators.”

Snowden’s name surfaced as top intelligence officials in the Obama administration and Congress pushed back against the journalists responsible for revealing the existence of sensitive surveillance programs and called for an investigation into the leaks. The Guardian initially reported the existence of a program that collects data on all phone calls made on the Verizon network. Later in the week, the Guardian and The Post reported the existence of a separate program, code-named PRISM, that collects the Internet data of foreigners from major Internet companies.

Clapper, in an interview with NBC that aired Saturday night, condemned the leaker’s actions but also sought to spotlight the media who first reported the programs, calling their disclosures irresponsible and full of “hyperbole.” Earlier Saturday, he had issued a statement accusing the media of a “rush to publish.”

“For me, it is literally — not figuratively — literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities,” Clapper said.

On Sunday morning, prior to Snowden’s unmasking, Clapper got some backup from the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, who appeared jointly on ABC’s “This Week” to espouse the values of the programs. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) had harsh words for the then-unnamed leaker and for the journalist who first reported the NSA’s collection of phone records, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.

“[Greenwald] doesn’t have a clue how this thing works; nether did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous,” Rogers said, adding, “I absolutely think [the leaker] should be prosecuted.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) agreed that whoever had leaked the information should be prosecuted, and she sought to beat back media reports that suggest the Obama administration overplayed the impact of the programs. Greenwald, who appeared earlier on the same show, said the secrecy is the reason the programs must be laid bare. After opponents of the programs questioned their value last week, anonymous administration officials pointed to the thwarting of a bomb plot targeting the New York City subway system in 2009. Soon after, though, reporters noted that public documents suggested regular police work was responsible for thwarting the attack rather than a secret government intelligence program.

Feinstein confirmed that the programs were invaluable in both the New York case and another one involving an American plotting to bomb a hotel in India in 2008. “One of them is the case of David Headley, who went to Mumbai to the Taj [Mahal] Hotel and scoped it out for the terrorist attack,” Feinstein said. “The second is Najibullah Zazi, who lived in Colorado, who made the decision that he was going to blow up a New York subway.”

Feinstein noted that she could talk about those two cases because they have been declassified, but she suggested the surveillance programs also assisted in other terrorism-related cases. That explanation wasn’t enough to satisfy some critics of the programs.

Her Senate Intelligence Committee colleague, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), agreed that the PRISM program has “been very effective.” But he said the collection of Americans’ phone metadata has not proven so. “It’s unclear to me that we’ve developed any intelligence through the metadata program that’s led to the disruption of plots that we couldn’t obtain through other programs,” Udall said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Udall and two Democrats from Oregon — Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley — have emerged as key voices critical of the phone record collection.

Another chief critic of the efforts, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said he is looking at filing a lawsuit against the government and called on Americans to join in. “I’m going to be asking all the Internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington.”

This article originally appeared in The Washington Post. Greg Miller also contributed to this article.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email: