It turns out that some of that necessary information was as simple as Edward Joseph Snowden’s name and passport number.
The name used in US government diplomatic documents was Edward James Snowden, the US Department of Justice referred to him as Edward J Snowden, and Hong Kong’s Immigration Department had him recorded as Edward Joseph Snowden, [Hong Kong’s justice secretary Yuen Kwok-keung] said.
“I couldn’t say the three names were consistent, so we needed further clarification. Otherwise, there would have been legal problems with a provisional arrest warrant,” Yuen said.
Snowden, a former employee of government contractor Booz Allen, went to Hong Kong when he leaked details of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans.
On June 15, the U.S. asked Hong Kong to have him provisionally arrested on three charges: unauthorised disclosure of national defence information, unauthorised disclosure of intelligence, and stealing state property.
Yuen contends that the U.S. failed to provide an explanation of how the first two charges fell within the scope of a 1996 U.S.-Hong Kong rendition treaty.
Furthermore, he said the U.S. documents also failed to mention evidence they had against Snowden, which is a requirement for Hong Kong courts to move ahead with a provisional arrest.
The White House said Hong Kong made “a deliberate choice … to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.”
Yuen counters that “any suggestion that we deliberately let Mr. Snowden get away and had done anything to obstruct normal operations is totally untrue.”
Snowden — who gave Hong Kong and China documents detailing how NSA hackers systematically targeted computers and civilian targets in the country over a four-year period — flew to Moscow this week before booking but not boarding a Monday flight to Cuba.
The U.S. voided the former NSA contractor’s passport, potentially stranding him in Russia.
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