Edward Snowden Departs Hong Kong, Hong Kong Asks U.S. for Clarification on Spying, U.S. Worried About Hong Kong’s Commitment to the Rule of Law

lucky number seven?The GuardianEdward Snowden, who leaked information to the press about the NSA’s massive telephone and digital spying operations, was charged by the U.S. government on Friday for spying. The U.S. sought to extradite Snowden from Hong Kong and they wanted to do it quickly. A Reuters article that came out about a couple of hours ago quotes an anonymous U.S. official saying that "[i]f 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."

Hong Kong has now responded to the U.S request for extradition by letting the U.S. know it did not provide sufficient information to warrant preventing Edward Snowden from leaving the island, and that that’s what he’s done. Additionally, the government of Hong Kong says it has formally asked the U.S. for “clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies.” You can read the Hong Kong government’s press release here.

Reports indicate Snowden is bound for Russia, which previously offered him asylum, at least for now, but according to an Agence France-Presse tweet Russia says it has no knowledge of his impending arrival.

More Reason on Edward Snowden here. More on the previous six people charged by the Obama administration for leaks here.

UPDATE: Wikileaks says via Twitter it's assisted Snowden in gaining asylum to a "democratic country" and that he's over Russian airspace with Wikileaks legal advisors on the plane.

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  • Acosmist||

    A democratic country? So Russia is just a layover.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies.

    Yeah, right. Hong Kong had a better chance getting that clarification from Snowden while they had him than getting it from the Obama Administration.

  • mr lizard||

    They probably already have said clarification. Just rubbing it in O's face but in a Klassy way

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That's a diplomatic Fuck You response to the US threats and questioning their commitment to the rule of law

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    The US government is fucking embarrassing itself right now. It's in an episode of Intervention but doesn't realize it. Unfortunately, it is destined to return to the bottle.

  • Alan||

    +1

  • Alan||

    When it comes to a commitment to the Rule of Law, the U.S. needs to remove that beam from their own eye before trying to remove the speck from Hong Kong's.

  • mr lizard||

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha, double fuck you win for anyone who ever got turned away at the DMV because they forgot some stoopid piece of documentation (I'm talking to all the REAL ID compliant states)

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I don't know how I missed it, but I wasn't even aware of all that crap until I read this article yesterday.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    That is fucking retarded on all kinds of levels. I'd even have a hard time finding a piece of mail with my name and address on it. I do everything electronically.

  • ||

    An American having to seek refuge in an authoritarian ex-commie hole to avoid persecution at the hands of his own government for revealing that that government is engaging in unconstitutional surveillance?

    God forgive us for what we've done to our inheritance.

  • BlueBook||

    This is the part where the guy on the plane turns out to be a decoy, and the real Snowden drifts out of Hong Kong in a run-down sampan.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    LOL I was thinking exactly the same thing. It would be doubly funny if the U.S. government did something radical like force the plane down while it's over friendly airspace, and then someone gets a pic of the U.S. officials' faces when they realize they've been snookered.

  • Fluffy||

    If you had told me when I was 18 that in 25 years there'd be a guy who committed espionage against the US flying from China to Moscow, and that I'd be rooting for him to make it and get away clean, I would have told you that you were fucking crazy.

    That's kind of a problem.

  • ||

    And the sad part is that 50+% of the comments on CNN favor the government's position.

    Blind allegiance to an oppressive regime.

    We are FUCKED!

  • Rrabbit||

    The sheep have not learned yet that all that spying on US citizen can and will at some point be used against them.

  • ||

    Most won't learn until it's too late.

  • Ted S.||

    A good portion of it is TEAM!!!!!!!!!! bullshit.

  • ||

    How would they know what to think if their TEAM didn't tell them?

    While our state of affairs is disappointing, it isn't unexpected. Sheeple will sheep.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And the sad part is that 50+% of the comments on CNN favor the government's position.

    It's actually a very good sign that it's only 50%.

  • ||

    I guess in some sick, twisted way, I'd have to agree with you. Only half the population is clueless. Yay!

  • thom||

    Half of CNN commenters.

  • ||

    Point taken, but aren't progressives the "party" of civil rights?

    Seems about 50/50 wherever I look.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Point taken, but aren't progressives the "party" of civil rights?

    Nope, they never were.

    From sending anti-war protesters to prison in the 1910s to speech codes in the 90s they've always come down on the side of the state over liberty.

    The bleeding heart liberals who were civil libertarians have been dwindling since the 70s and were replaced by progressives as the dominant wing of the democrat party in the 90s. Today, they're almost complete extinct.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    In the run up to the Iraq war, 95%+ of the public thought the government should do anything and everything to keep us safe.

    So 50% is a huge improvement.

    Plus I'd say that people on the right are expressing more outrage than lefties. And that's not just partisanship, because it's the tea party types that hate the R establishment that are pissed about the spying and the republican establishment douchebags that are defending it.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Good point - I would have never believed it either. It's too strange for fiction which just goes to prove the old saw.

    Anyway - Run Snowden, Run! And keep fighting the good fight.

  • Sugarsail||

    me too.

  • ||

    At this point no one seems to know whether he will seek asylum in Russia or head on to Iceland or Ecuador. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • mr lizard||

    In Putin's Russia asylum seeks you

  • ||

    Actually, Snowden just wants to hang out with Depardieu and dance.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm hearing Venezuela.

    I'd rather it were a country I could respect, but unfortunately "our list of allies grows thin."

  • ||

    Yeah, that would be disappointing.

  • BlueBook||

    Someone on Fox mentioned Cuba. Too bad those free cities in Honduras aren't up and running yet.

  • Marginal||

    Only two countries can effectively tell the US to scram: China and Russia.

    If he's smart, he won't go to any other country; they're all pissants.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Cuba? North Korea?

  • RBS||

    I agree, but at this point he pretty has to go to country that wants to give a big fuck you to our government right?

  • Marginal||

    wants to give a big fuck you to our government right?

    Oh, I think Russia fits that bill

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The powers in the United States government cannot let this stand. They're no doubt diverting substantial resources and expending diplomatic capital on getting him. I don't think it will take all that long before they have him in custody, and we'll not hear from him again.

    The whole leak investigation has been about saving face, not national security. It's a vendetta and these people have shown they can be quite vindictive to those who try to expose them to sunlight.

  • ||

    Oooooh, a shiny object.

    /the media

  • Mike M.||

    Yep, and Block Yomomma and the minions who work for him are even more vindictive than your typical governments agents.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Is Snowden collecting funds for his defense like George Zimmerman did? If not he should be.

  • RBS||

    The feds would love a crack at the massive "conspiracy to commit espionage."

  • Ted S.||

    Reason should use George Zimmerman's face, or Jared Loughner's, to illustrate a Snowden article, just to see if anybody catches the difference.

  • LynchPin1477||

    The great thing is that the continuing drama guarantees that this will stay in the headlines. PRISM itself would have gotten buried in the news cycle pretty quickly but this sort of reality TV has endless staying power.

  • Gordilocks||

    More truth about our state of affairs from The Onion.

    http://www.theonion.com/articl...../?ref=auto

  • Ted S.||

    Roll that beautiful bean footage!

  • mr lizard||

    Your future reptilian overlords have heard you calls. We promise to persecute based solely on 20 sided dice rolls.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The scary thing about that is it's really not satire.

  • Andrew S.||

    I'll just echo what Balko said on Facebook: As an American, it is really embarrassing that someone who exposed abuses of my privacy and freedom has no choice but to seek protection from countries like China, Cuba, Russia and Venezuela.

    I mean, it's not surprising nowadays. But it is really embarrassing.

  • Sevo||

    "U.S. Worried About Hong Kong’s Commitment to the Rule of Law"

    Funny!

  • ||

    Drips with irony, don't it?

  • Jerryskids||

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • ||

    Taliban kills Russian, Chinese, Ukrainian tourists in Pakistan as retaliation for...US drone strike.

    Gunmen stormed a camp on Pakistan’s second largest mountain on Sunday, killing nine foreign climbers in a brazen assault that could deal a blow to the country’s efforts to jumpstart its tourism industry.

    Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it retribution for a suspected U.S. drone strike last month that killed Wali ur-Rehman, the second highest-ranking leader of the terrorist group.
  • Sevo||

    We drone, you die!

  • mr lizard||

    What's the life expectancy of a guy labeled Taliban VP? Or do they just keep re-spawning?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Totally believable.

    While I don't doubt that drone attacks have repercussions, turning the Taliban into foreigner hating bad guys isn't one of them.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Le Mans is done (Kristenson wins again); I switched over to CNN just in time to hear Schumer blathering about what a rotten traitorous guy Snowden is. Chuck Schumer is more of a traitor to the Constitution than Edward Snowden.

    ps- Candy Crowley is a retard. A fat, ugly, mendacious retard.

  • Marginal||

    Is anyone in America more contemptuous of the Constitution than fucking Chuck Schumer? Maybe Mike Bloomberg.

    I swear, when either one of these fuck-nuts kicks the bucket, we should have a reasonoid Meet-up in the Bronx and toast to a marginally-improved planet.

    ~

    Also, excellent point about Crowley. I have a feeling that she's hoping to get fired and then she can launch a lawsuit against CNN for weight-discrimination.

    Hopefully, that abominable cunt will drown this summer.

  • SweatingGin||

    "Also, excellent point about Crowley. I have a feeling that she's hoping to get fired and then she can launch a lawsuit against CNN for weight-discrimination."

    That's just what is needed to get everyone to stop paying attention to the NSA.

  • Ted S.||

    Le Mans is done (Kristenson wins again);

    Did whichever sports channel had the coverage here in the States get the fatal crash live?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    That's exactly what I said about Pete King yesterday.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They want to charge him with espionage for revealing "secrets" to the American people?

    Someone accused him of treason becasue of his loyalty to the American people rather than the government?

    Run, Edward, run!

    I wish it were Barack Obama desperately seeking asylum somewhere.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They want to charge him with espionage for revealing "secrets" to the American people?

    With The inevitable conclusion that the government thinks the American people are it's enemy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Precisely.

    He betrayed us to the enemy!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    How entertaining would it be to get a live feed of the phone call between Putin and Obama?

  • Jerryskids||

    I've got a buddy at the NSA that can get you that.

  • Rich||

    Perhaps it would be something like this?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now that sleazy lying little cunt Stephanie Cutter is on.

    I believe YOU, Stephanie.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "But I'm the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! You have to do what I say!"

    "Sorry, Sonny, I don't have time to talk to you right now, I have an appointment to get my shoes shined."

  • Lord Humungus||

    shoes shined

    RAACCIIIST!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Nice. Greenwald just pretty much called out David Gregory to his face for being a puppet of the administration.

  • Sevo||

    Can't happen often enough.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Some a-hole spy general on Stepho's show says that his primary duty is to protect the American people.

    Really? I thought you swore an oath to defend the constitution.

    Fascist fuck.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Even if his job was to protect the American people, why doesn't telling the American people that their rights are being abused by their own government qualify as "protecting the American people"?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "We had to destroy their rights in order to save them."

  • Ken Shultz||

    Those of us who were around here during the Bush Administration, we were pounding on the Democrats at the time for offering no opposition when the Bush Administration was stomping all over our rights. I remember pieces here at H&R about how the Democrats may have been loyal--but they sure as hell weren't offering any opposition...

    They sucked in opposition, but it didn't really occur to me at the time that when they got their turn in the White House that they would become full on perpetrators of the same shit--even worse. As awful as the Republicans are on free market capitalism, they do, at least, offer some resistance to the Democrats' socialist impulses.

    But there isn't any reason to vote for the Democrats' anymore--certainly not if you're concerned about civil rights. If the Democrats can't stand up on this one, then there is nothing left of any pretense that they're pretty good on civil rights. Far as I can tell, they're worse than the Republicans on civil rights.

    I'd rather suffer prayer in public schools.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Progs are always down with domestic spying. After all, information is key to proper management of the local human biomass.

  • robc||

    “He has taken information that does not belong to him – it belongs to the people of the United States"

    Ummm...and he released the information to the people of the United States.

    If I own this fucking info, I should be able to fucking know about it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Gets to the heart of it, don't it?

    There are a lot of people out there who can't tel the difference between American people and the government.

    Maybe that's the first step in the twelve-step program to becoming a libertarian.

    Step 1: Admitting that there is a difference between the American people and their government.

  • Virginian||

    "You can't say you love your country and hate your government."-Bill Clinton.

    Sure you can you Arkansas slime mold. Fuck you. -Me

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Amazing that a President would say that in a world where fully half of the world's governments are openly authoritarian or totalitarian, and where the "democratic" countries violated plenty of peoples' rights as well.

  • Virginian||

    I find it more amazing that some libertarians think he was a decent President. The man was just as bad as his successors. I wish he would die a painful death. Maybe someone could lay siege to his house before burning him alive inside it. That would be very appropriate.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Clinton set the stage for many of the bad trends we're sorting through today, from engaging our military in "humanitarian" invasions and peacekeeping mission, to using the government to eliminate internal dissent. Waco was a travesty, and Albright should be rotting in a cell.

    It's easy to be a "good President" when you're presiding over the first peacetime economy the nation's had in 60 years, you luck into a great economy spurred by factors your administration had nothing to do with, and when you can cut government on account of not having a war to deal with.

  • Heedless||

    NAFTA and Welfare Reform were both pretty important. Not perfect by any means, but definite steps in the right direction.

    That's more than we've managed under any president since.

  • Virginian||

    He vetoed welfare reform twice. He only supported it after it passed over his objections. He shouldn't get any credit for it.

    I mean that's like crediting Reagan for the Boland Amendment.

  • Sevo||

    Virginian| 6.23.13 @ 12:36PM |#
    "I find it more amazing that some libertarians think he was a decent President."

    I don't know a lot of libertarians who think he was a decent president, but I know a lot who think he was a fuck-up who ended up being grid-locked to the point where he could do little damage.
    And I for one pine for those days.

  • Ted S.||

    He has taken information that does not belong to him – it belongs to the people of the United States

    Isn't he one of the people of the United States?

  • Sevo||

    Yes, he needs to be locked up! He stole from himself! And, uh, well,...

  • robc||

    "we agreed that they (the NSA) had over-collected"

    And who went to jail for the overcollection?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But you can trust them now.

    Despite their lying to Congress and violating their constitutional mandate.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Governance" by vague unsubstantiated assertion.

    "If we cannot act behind a veil of total secrecy, you peasants will all die a horrible horrible death!"

  • fredtyg||

    If you'd like to take a guess at where Ed Snowden finally ends up, I've posted a poll on my blog:
    http://humboldtlib.blogspot.co.....e-run.html

  • califernian||

    " A Reuters article that came out about a couple of hours ago quotes an anonymous U.S. official saying that "[i]f 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."

    Puh-leeeeeze.

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