“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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Dutch supreme Court OKs alleged terror suspect extradition

April 18, 2012

Newsday on April 17, 2012 released the following:

“By The Associated Press MIKE CORDER (Associated Press)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – (AP) — The Supreme Court approved Tuesday the extradition of a Dutch-Pakistani man wanted in the United States on suspicion of terror crimes including plotting a suicide attack on an American military base in Afghanistan.

The suspect, identified only as Sabir K. under Dutch privacy laws, was arrested in Pakistan last year and expelled to the Netherlands where he was sent to a high-security jail pending extradition.

In a written ruling, the Netherlands’ highest court rejected K.’s argument that he should not be extradited because he was tortured in Pakistan and that Americans were involved in the abuse.

He was indicted last June by a federal grand jury in New York.

The Supreme Court said its ruling cleared the last legal hurdle to K.’s extradition, which must be approved by the Dutch government, but his lawyer vowed to fight on.

“It is disappointing, but we still hold out hope this man will not be extradited,” attorney Andre Seebregts told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

“We will now go to the minister for security and justice and should he agree with the extradition we will file and injunction in The Hague and after that we could go to the European Court of Justice,” Seebregts added. “We are not done.”

Seebregts said he had not spoken to his client to get his reaction since the ruling was issued.

In an unusual move, the Dutch Foreign Ministry released a statement last year saying that the Dutch consul in Pakistan visited K. twice while he was in detention and saw no signs of abuse, though it noted he was blindfolded coming and going to the visits.

The foreign ministry rejected claims by K. that the Dutch government assisted U.S. authorities by luring him to the Netherlands with false promises he would be freed once he left Pakistani soil.

According to a Dutch summary of the U.S. indictment, K. worked for and with al-Qaida between 2004 and 2010. It says he tried to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, including planning a suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Kunar province in 2010.

He was also charged with possession and use of guns and “destructive material,” presumably explosives, during attacks on U.S. troops.”

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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 Netherlands 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 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.


Israeli judge: Fugitive can’t be deported unless U.S. prison provides kosher food

February 14, 2012

Haaretz.com on February 14, 2012 released the following:

“Jerusalem judge apparently did not try to ascertain whether Lawrence Seth Wayne, who had been sentenced by a Florida court to 19 years in prison for a 1998 hit-and-run, is actually religious.

By Tomer Zarchin

An American hit-and-run driver who was finally found in Israel last year, after fleeing Florida over a decade ago, may not be extraditable because Florida does not allow its prisoners to receive kosher food.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Ben-Tzion Greenberger on Sunday ruled that Lawrence Seth Wayne, who had been sentenced by a Florida court to 19 years in prison for the 1998 road accident, could not be extradited to a state that would violate his right to practice his religion.

Greenberger thus accepted Wayne’s argument that sending him back to Florida would violate Israel’s Extradition Law, which forbids extradition to a foreign country if this is liable to “harm public policy or a crucial interest of the State of Israel.”

If he was not assured kosher food, extraditing Wayne would constitute “a serious violation of his most basic rights to freedom of religion and worship,” Greenberger said.

He could only be extradited if Florida provided him with kosher food in prison, or allowed him to serve out his sentence in one of the 35 U.S. states that do provide its prisoners with kosher food, Greenberger said.

Florida has refused to allow Wayne to receive kosher food in prison even if he pays for it privately, and insists he must begin serving his sentence in Florida while awaiting the proceedings to transfer him to another state.

In February 1998, Wayne, a twice-convicted drunk driver, was again driving drunk when he slammed into Donald Cantwell’s pickup truck in Delray Beach, mortally injuring him. Wayne fled the scene but was apprehended by police. Cantwell died two days later.

Wayne was convicted of DUI manslaughter and sentenced to 19 years, but was let out on $50,000 bond while he appealed the case. He lost the appeal and fled the country before he could be brought to prison.

He entered Israel in 2000 using a forged passport and an assumed name. He was located and arrested last year after a decade-long manhunt conducted by the FBI that was finally concluded with the help of the Israel Police.

Apparently Greenberger did not attempt to ascertain whether Wayne, who has married and started a family here, is actually religious or whether he was trying to use the kosher food problem as an excuse to avoid extradition.

His attorney, Eric Bukatman of the Public Defender’s Office, said on Monday he didn’t know how long Wayne had been observant. Since taking on the case last year, he has always seen Wayne wearing a knitted kippa and the matter was not raised in court, he said.

The Supreme Court in several instances has recognized the right of those being extradited to be able to observe religious tenets – including kosher food, prayers and the right to wear a kippa – in the requesting country.

Two years ago, for example, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein conditioned the extradition of a suspect to Ukraine on his receiving kosher food, even though the suspect wasn’t Jewish, because only his father was Jewish. The Ukrainian authorities complied.

In the past Florida had an arrangement for supplying kosher food to prisoners, but canceled it, even though it recognized that this would violate some prisoners’ rights.

When this was challenged in a federal court, the court accepted the state’s arguments that the inconvenience to individual prisoners was reasonable when balanced against the expense providing kosher food entailed. The court also cited the risk of disorder that could occur in a prison when some prisoners are seen receiving special food that might be better than what the others receive.

Greenberger said he had examined the rulings of the Supreme Court in similar cases and “could not find a single case in which it was declared so unequivocally that the fugitive would not receive kosher food if extradited to the United States.”

But the case is not necessarily closed. “The country requesting [Wayne’s] extradition is not the state of Florida, but the United States of America,” Greenberger noted. “It is in its power to provide a simple and fitting solution to his legitimate need for kosher food, if not in Florida, then in one of the 35 states, or in the federal system, where kosher food is provided to kosher-observant prisoners.””

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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 Israel 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 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.


Megaupload founder faces lengthy extradition battle

January 25, 2012

Thomson Reuters on January 25, 2012 released the following:

Reporting by Gyles Beckford and Rebecca Hamilton

“Jan 25 (Reuters) – Efforts by the United States to extradite the mastermind of an alleged Internet piracy scheme from New Zealand to face copyright infringement and money laundering charges are likely to be long and complex.

Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz, will be held in custody in New Zealand until Feb. 22 ahead of a hearing of a U.S. extradition application.

U.S. authorities claim Dotcom’s file-sharing site, Megaupload.com, has netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he will fight extradition.

“It could take some considerable time to get through the whole thing,” said senior New Zealand lawyer Grant Illingworth, adding there were rights of appeal and procedural review to both sides.

Dotcom, 38, and three others, were arrested on Friday after a police raid at his rented country estate, reputedly New Zealand’s most expensive home, at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Under New Zealand’s extradition law the prosecution must show there is enough evidence that would substantiate charges against Dotcom and the others accused of breaching local copyright laws.

“What the judge has to do is decide whether there is a prima facie case that would justify the person being put on trial if the offence had occurred in New Zealand,” Illingworth said.

“If the evidence doesn’t make out, what under New Zealand law amounts to a prima facie case, then the person walks away.”

A 1970 extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand gives the U.S. 45 days from the time of Dotcom’s arrest to request extradition. The New Zealand Extradition Act, passed in 1999, gives the United States preferential status to access a streamlined process for making its request.

The judge who refused Dotcom bail said he could not assess whether the United States had a strong enough case against Dotcom, nor whether he had a good defense.

“All I can say is that there appears to be an arguable defense, at least in respect of the breach of copyright charges,” Judge David McNaughton wrote in his judgement.

CIVIL MATTER

Copyright infringement and illegal file sharing are normally civil matters in New Zealand, but there is a provision for criminal charges and a maximum 5-year jail term for serious breaches.

Rick Shea, a partner at Lowndes Jordan in Auckland, said there were some differences between New Zealand and U.S. copyright law, in terms of knowledge, that could be an issue.

Douglas McNabb, a U.S. lawyer who specializes in extradition defense, said extraditions to the United States have to meet probable cause – the same standard that is required for making arrests in the United States.

Although the extradition hearing is not a test of guilt or innocence, McNabb said Dotcom’s lawyers may argue they should be allowed a limited discovery process to show that probable cause has not been met.

Prime Minister John Key said the issues raised were serious and New Zealand would co-operate with the U.S. authorities.

“This is the largest, most significant case in Internet piracy so New Zealand is certainly going to work with the United States authorities to allow them to extradite Kim Dotcom,” he said on TV3.

According to Shea, New Zealand has never had an extradition proceeding involving copyright law. “I wouldn’t expect this to be sorted out quickly,” he said.

AGGRESSIVE CHARGES

Anthony Falzone, Director for Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, said it was too early to comment on the strength of the case, but questioned whether some of the allegations in the indictment would actually push Megaupload outside the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The indictment “pushes some pretty aggressive theories”, Falzone said.

The most recent Supreme Court case to deal with similar issues was in 2005. In MGM v. Grokster, the U.S. court highlighted the importance of intent in determining if an Internet firm was liable for its users infringing copyright.

“A lot of the Megaupload case may also rise and fall on the question of intent,” said Falzone.

With MGM, the court found the intent of the Internet company from the beginning was to build a tool to facilitate illegal sharing.

“Maybe that’s what the Feds (FBI) think they have here, too,” said Falzone.

The case is USA v. Kim DotCom et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, no. 1:12CR3.”

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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 New Zealand 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 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.