press trust of india
WASHINGTON, 22 JUNE: Mr Edward Snowden, a former private contractor with the CIA who leaked details of America’s controversial secret surveillance programme, has been charged with espionage and stealing government property.
According to a federal complaint, filed last week in the US District Court of Virginia, but unsealed yesterday, Mr Snowden has been charged with espionage, theft of government data and conveying classified information to unauthorised persons.
Mr Snowden, 29, who has already been fired by his employer Booz Allen Hamilton had fled to Hong Kong, but his current whereabouts are not known.
The USA has asked the Government of Hong Kong to arrest him, a media report said.
If extradited to the USA and convicted in a court of law, he faces 10 years of imprisonment on each of these charges.
Documents leaked by Mr Snowden, published in Guar-dian and Washington Post, rev-ealed details of the secretive programme of the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) about getting access to phone records of millions of Americans and getting Internet usage details of suspected foreign terrorists.
The case has set off a national debate over the limits of government surveillance.