Thursday, June 13, 2013

Edward Snowden: U.S. government a 'bully' to Hong Kong in quest for extradition

NSA whistleblower threatens more surveillance leaks on America's alleged hacking of Chinese computer networks. Comments (100)
Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 11:39 PM

























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Former CIA employee Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source of documents outing a massive effort by the U.S. National Security Agency to track cellphone calls and monitor the email and internet traffic of virtually all Americans.

Edward Snowden has resurfaced and accused the U.S. government of trying to “bully” Hong Kong into extraditing him before he leaks more top secret information.
But Snowden, 29, says he has an ace up his sleeve that will complicate any extradition request: Documents showing the National Security Agency hacks computers in Hong Kong.
“I heard today from a reliable source that the United States government is trying to bully the Hong Kong government into extraditing me before the local government can learn of this,” Snowden told the South China Morning Post, referring to the NSA’s monitoring of people in Hong Kong.
“The U.S. government will do anything to prevent me from getting this into the public eye, which is why they are pushing so hard for extradition.”
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Snowden showed the newspaper documents, which it couldn’t verify, that indicated the NSA had hacked hundreds of computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009. Among the targets were the Chinese University of Hong Kong and “public officials, businesses and students in the city,” according to the paper.
A picture of Edward Snowden is seen Wednesday on the front page of a newspaper in Hong Kong. The whereabouts of Snowden remained unknown Wednesday, two days after he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel.

Kin Cheung/AP 

A picture of Edward Snowden is seen Wednesday on the front page of a newspaper in Hong Kong. The whereabouts of Snowden remained unknown Wednesday, two days after he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel.

The cunning move — if it works — could serve as a rebuttal to Snowden’s critics who said the former defense contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton was a fool for taking refuge in the semiautonomous city beginning May 20.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking (Hong Kong) as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the newspaper from a secret location.
“I have had many opportunities to flee (Hong Kong), but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added.
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Since he revealed himself Sunday Snowden said he had not spoken to any of his family or his performance artist girlfriend.
“I am worried about the pressure they are feeling from the FBI,” he said.
Snowden  is technically free to leave the China-ruled city at any time, local lawyers said Wednesday.

A.J. SISCO/REUTERS

Snowden is technically free to leave the China-ruled city at any time, local lawyers said Wednesday.

Snowden’s mother in Ellicot City, Md. has yet to speak to reporters. His father, Lonnie Snowden, 52, told ABC News he was still “digesting and processing” the shocking news on Sunday. He last saw his son two months ago, he added.
His bombshell girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, 28, wrote on her blog that she is “lost and adrift” after Snowden abruptly left their home in Hawaii, only giving a vague reason for his departure.
RELATED: NSA WHISTLEBLOWER EDWARD SNOWDEN EXPECTED TO LEAK MORE TOP SECRET DOCUMENTS
The high school dropout’s series of leaks published in the Guardian last week have spurred calls for greater transparency regarding U.S. surveillance of its citizens.
Snowden’s first leak showed that Verizon hands over data on phone calls made on its networks. Follow-up reports revealed the practice applied to other phone carriers as well. A subsequent leak reported that the government has direct access to the servers of nine major Internet companies, giving the feds access to all manner of online communications.
Politicians like Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have gone so far as to accuse Snowden of treason. Russia, on the other hand, has said it would consider a request for asylum from Snowden.
But Snowden wouldn’t say whether the country had contacted him with an offer.
“My only comment is that I am glad there are governments that refuse to be intimidated by great power,” he said.
sbrown@nydailynews.com
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