According to the Washington Post, the U.S. government has brought the hammer down on NSA leaker Edward Snowden, charging him with one of the most serious offenses: espionage. Snowden, who is holed up in Hong Kong, is currently searching for asylum with the help of fellow leak-enthusiast, Julian Assange of Wikileaks.
Ironically, The Post and USA Today report that charging Snowden with a heavy political crime could make it harder to extradite him. “The treaty, however, has an exception for political offenses, and espionage has traditionally been treated as a political offense. Snowden’s defense team in Hong Kong is likely to invoke part of the extradition treaty with the United States, which states that suspects will not be turned over to face criminal trial for offenses of a “political character,” explains The Post.
The extradition process could drag on for months. “Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, probably also under seal, and can then move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial in the United States… Any court battle is likely to reach Hong Kong’s highest court, and could last many months”.
The harsh indictment should worry those who fear Snowden will face the same treatment as Wikileaks source Bradley Manning who was reportedly driven to suicidal thoughts from “extreme” 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama refused to comment on how Snowden would be punished.
For good measure, we’ve included a screenshot of live Google search results that show the world still has its priorities straight with regard to the most important “bradley.”