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U.S. to Hong Kong: Don’t delay Edward Snowden extradition

  • The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2013. The man who told the world about the U.S. government’s gigantic data grab also talked a lot about himself. Mostly through his own words, a picture of Edward Snowden is emerging: fresh-faced computer whiz, high school and Army dropout, independent thinker, trustee of official secrets. And leaker on the lam. (AP Photo/The Guardian)   MANDATORY CREDIT

    This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2013. The man who told the world about the U.S. government’s gigantic data grab also talked a lot about himself. Mostly through his own words, a picture of Edward Snowden is emerging: fresh-faced computer whiz, high school and Army dropout, independent thinker, trustee of official secrets. And leaker on the lam. (AP Photo/The Guardian) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • A security guard stands in front of the Police headquarters in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Former National Security Agency contractor 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. It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and 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. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
  • This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2013. The man who told the world about the U.S. government’s gigantic data grab also talked a lot about himself. Mostly through his own words, a picture of Edward Snowden is emerging: fresh-faced computer whiz, high school and Army dropout, independent thinker, trustee of official secrets. And leaker on the lam. (AP Photo/The Guardian)   MANDATORY CREDIT

The Obama administration yesterday sharply warned Hong Kong against slow-walking the extradition of Edward Snowden, reflecting concerns over a prolonged legal battle before the government contractor ever appears in a U.S. courtroom to answer espionage charges for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs.

A formal extradition request to bring Snowden to the United States from Hong Kong could drag through appeal courts for years and would pit Beijing against Washington at a time China tries to deflect U.S. accusations that it carries out extensive surveillance on American government and commercial operations.

The U.S. has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek Snowden’s extradition, the National Security Council said yesterday in a statement. The council advises the president on national security.

“Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case,” White House national security adviser Tom Donilon said in an interview with CBS News. He said the U.S. presented Hong Kong with a “good case for extradition.”

However, a senior administration official issued a pointed warning that 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.” The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and insisted on anonymity.

Hong Kong’s government had no immediate reaction to the charges against Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who admitted to providing information to the news media about the programs. Police Commissioner Andy Tsang 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.

A one-page criminal complaint against Snowden was unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., part of the Eastern District of Virginia where his former employer, government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, in McLean. He is charged with unauthorized communication of national defense information, willful communication of classified communications intelligence information and theft of government property. The first two are under the Espionage Act, and each of the three crimes carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison upon
conviction.

Well that worked out well.

LOL. No one fears Obama, they know that he is a paper tiger.

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