“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

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

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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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US ‘Assange hunt’ chokes air for whistleblowers

March 27, 2012

RT on March 27, 2012 released the following:

“Washington’s relentless pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and alleged whistle-blower Bradley Manning, is no secret. But the fate of the two men has got US journalists worried, that they too could soon find themselves behind bars.

Julian Assange’s life resembles a game of chess. He is an Australian citizen in the custody of Britain fighting extradition to Sweden. But no one wants the king of WikiLeaks more than America. Washington has had secret plans for Assange since at least January 2011.

Ironically, the secret was uncovered earlier this month after five million confidential emails from the global intelligence company Stratfor were published by WikiLeaks.

“It’s done frequently when a defendant is outside the US. They’ll get an indictment, which is secret. They’ll seal the charging document of the indictment. They will ask for an arrest warrant and that will also be sealed. That way, the US stands behind a big large boulder, if you will, and then jumps out from that boulder and arrests someone,” says Douglas McNabb, federal criminal defense attorney and extradition expert.

Under house arrest for more than a year, Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country, though Sweden wants to question him over sex-related allegations. The US meanwhile, is determined to punish the forty-year old.

Apparently, it is payback for exposing confidential cables repeatedly shaming America by shining a spotlight on illegalities in overseas military operations and on some embarrassing tactics and opinions from the State Department.

Washington says publishing the documents has created a national security risk. The Justice Department has reportedly mounted an unprecedented investigation into WikiLeaks, aimed at prosecuting Assange under the espionage act.

“They’re going to continue going after Mr. Assange to make a point that we’re tough and we’re not going to let anybody threaten America, whether it’s Al-Qaeda or it’s an Australian national,” believes journalist James Moore.

And some say they’ll go to any lengths to make the point.

“The US government within the federal arena likes to charge others – that have either aided and abetted or assisted or were full blown co-conspirators – likes to go after those in order to flip them. To get them to co-operate with the US government against the major players, in this case Mr. Assange,” McNabb says.

The US is now apparently working on flipping none other than Private Bradley Manning. The US soldier is facing 22 federal charges for allegedly leaking 700,000 documents and videos to WikiLeaks. He’s one of six Americans, the Obama administration has charged with espionage.

“If one of those cases makes it to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court upholds the Espionage Act as an act which essentially criminalizes any whistleblower, anybody who exposes war crimes, anybody who challenges the official narrative of the lies of the state, then that’s it. Because that would mean that any leaker could automatically be sent to prison for life. And at that point any idea of freedom of information is over. We will only know what the state wants us to know,” Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author told RT.

“It’s supposed to be about protecting the national security of the United States. But that is not the way the journalism industry will view it. They will view it as being a message to them. ‘Be careful who you talk to. Be careful what you write because you can be next.’ I think a number of reporters will say ‘I am not risking it,’” Moore believes.

Critics say the Obama administration’s unprecedented “war on whistleblowers” may ultimately deliver a death sentence to freedom of the press in the US. If people and or publishers are criminally convicted and jailed for exposing the truth, more journalists may prefer to abandon First Amendment privileges and reserve the right to remain silent.

Julian Assange’s show ‘The World Tomorrow’ is to premiere on RT later this month.”

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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

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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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.


Law officials map out strategy to catch more fugitives

January 13, 2012

Chicago Tribune on January 12, 2012 released the following:

“Federal, state, local agencies vow to work more closely together

By David Jackson and Gary Marx, Chicago Tribune reporters

At a 90-minute closed-door meeting Thursday, top federal, state and local law enforcement officials laid out plans to improve the government’s faltering efforts to apprehend violent fugitives who cross U.S. borders to evade justice in Illinois.

The officials from the Justice Department and various northern Illinois agencies pledged to more closely coordinate their international fugitive apprehension programs, better manage their mounting caseloads and train local prosecutors and police in the often-complex and lengthy extradition process.

“There’s a feeling that this is a growing problem, an expensive problem and a large challenge to our system of justice,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who convened the meeting and spoke to reporters afterward. “I think the response at the table was extremely positive at all levels.”

Attending the working session with Durbin were U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole — the No. 2 official in the Justice Department — as well as U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the Chicago heads of the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, and Timothy Williams, director of Interpol in Washington.

The local officials included Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the state’s attorneys from Cook, DuPage and Will counties, representatives from the Illinois attorney general’s office, the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police.

Durbin called together those officials in response to a recent investigative series by the Chicago Tribune that found dangerous criminals were able to cross the border and remain at large because of an astonishing lack of coordination among Justice Department officials, county prosecutors and local police; a failure by these agencies to keep track of their cases; and inexplicable, years-long delays.

After Thursday’s closed-door meeting, Durbin announced that Fitzgerald would train Illinois law enforcement agencies on the extradition system at three upcoming seminars in Chicago, Springfield and a third location outside Chicago.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow later said through a spokesman that his office would “take full advantage” of the sessions and send “multiple attorneys.”

Durbin also urged county criminal court judges to set higher bonds for violent criminals who present flight risks — a weakness pointed out in the series.

And he endorsed a bill introduced by Illinois lawmakers that will make it possible to prosecute close family members for aiding or harboring a fugitive, another loophole highlighted by one article in the series. Prosecutors said the reform would help them locate fugitives and bring them to justice.

But Durbin did express frustration with significant hurdles that remain. Local prosecutors sometimes find it prohibitively expensive to prepare and translate the extensive legal paperwork needed to request a fugitive’s arrest and extradition from a foreign government. “We’re talking about thousands of dollars,” Durbin said.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who noted that her office has faced recent budget and staff cuts, added that “the cost that really is laid on local prosecutors is enormous.”

Another issue hampering extraditions is continued lack of cooperation between the lead federal investigative agencies: The U.S. Marshals Service is the primary investigative agency and handles about 60 percent of international fugitive pursuits, but the FBI also plays a major role, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies. “It appears there is still some stovepipe culture in the federal agencies,” Durbin said.

Dart said outside the meeting that Justice Department officials need to lay out clear directives showing local officials which of the myriad federal agencies they should deal with when they have evidence that a fugitive has crossed the border.

“Everybody needs to get their act together,” Dart said. Right now, he said, the sheriffs “can go to the FBI or the U.S. marshals — but there’s no rhyme or reason.”

While the officials at Thursday’s meeting focused on international fugitive apprehension problems in northern Illinois, Durbin noted afterward that a number of federal officials have told him there was a higher level of cooperation and effectiveness here than in many other parts of the country.

“Illinois is not the worst situation in the country,” Durbin said. “This is a challenge across the nation.”

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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

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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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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


Miguel Angel Nevarez, Accused Killer of U.S. Consulate and Others, Extradited to U.S. For Trial

August 30, 2011

The Las Crucues Sun-News on August 29, 2011 released the following:

“LAS CRUCES – One of the accused killers in the murders of a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and another man in Juárez has been extradited to the United States to stand trial, the Justice Department announced.

Miguel Angel Nevarez was among 10 alleged members and associates of a Southwest border gang indicted in the slayings of consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs. They were killed on March 13, 2010, when gunmen opened fire on their sport utility vehicle after they left a birthday party.

Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate, also was killed by gunmen after leaving the same event in a separate vehicle.

Nevarez, 30, was charged with conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering and federal firearm charges in the killings of the three. Nevarez arrived in the United States on Thursday and made his initial appearance Friday before a federal magistrate judge in El Paso. He had been in the custody of Mexican authorities pending extradition since his arrest on Oct. 30, 2010.

A grand jury indictment unsealed in March in El Paso charged 10 defendants in the killings along with 25 other people – saying all 35 were linked to the Barrio Azteca gang. All but four of the 35 are in custody in the United States or Mexico and all including Nevarez are charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, drug distribution, drug importation and money laundering.

The indictment did not supply a motive for the killings – which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in March were so brutal that the motive was almost irrelevant.

At the time, FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry said the case was an important step in dismantling one of the most violent gangs along the Southwest border.

U.S. law enforcement officials said that to increase its power, Barrio Azteca formed an alliance with the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug trafficking organization in Mexico and conducted enforcement operations against VCF rivals.”

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 extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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

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Argentine Authorities Arrest Suspected Colombian Drug Trafficker; Extradition to US Underway

June 14, 2010

A suspected Colombian drug trafficker who operated under the radar for years in Argentina was described Friday as a ringleader capable of giving direct orders to Colombia’s most-wanted cocaine kingpins and with close ties to Mexico’s feared Sinaloa cartel.

Luis Caicedo Velandia was arrested as he walked near a Buenos Aires shopping mall April 12 and has been held under extremely high security, according to Argentine authorities, who did not reveal his capture until the United States formally filed a request for his extradition this week.

Caicedo, a former Colombian police official who carried a false Guatemalan passport, is responsible for moving tons of cocaine into the U.S. and laundering billions of dollars in profits.

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington declined to comment on the indictment filed in New York City, saying it is a continuing investigation.

U.S. officials presented a case file more than 300 pages thick in support of his extradition, a process scheduled to begin within 10 days that can be appealed up to Argentina’s Supreme Court.

According to Argentine and Colombian media, intelligence agencies from all three countries focused on Caicedo after containers were intercepted in the ports of Manzanillo, Mexico, and Buenaventura, Colombia, containing drug profits hidden among shipments of fertilizer. Caicedo’s phone calls were later intercepted, leading authorities to Buenos Aires, where he was quietly living under a Guatemalan alias in a gated suburban community.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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

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