Hunt on for NSA Leaker as Extradition Battle Takes Shape

Sen. Feinstein Condemns Revealing Truth About Surveillance as 'Treason'

A manhunt of sorts is beginning for the source of the NSA leaks revealing PRISM and the rest of the huge surveillance state watching Americans. In some ways it’s straightforward. Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has confirm he was the source, and confirmed that he is in Hong Kong, just a block from the US Consulate.

And while a handful of Congressmen have praised Snowden for uncovering the truth about rampant privacy violations, most officials fall in the category of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), who condemned Snowden as a traitor for allowing the American public to know the truth which, she insists, she had been privy to for quite some time. They are determined to capture him, and make an example of him.

But knowing where he is and being able to actually get him are two very different things. Snowden is in Hong Kong, and the city has an extradition deal with the US, but it is expected to be a very long, very difficult battle.

Political asylum is certain to come into play here, particularly considering the dystopian aspects of the NSA scheme Snowden uncovered. The Obama Administration’s quest to extradite him is going to be stalled greatly by asylum requests, and could be ended outright if Snowden ends up finding a new home in this manner.

Icelandic MP Brigitta Jonsdottir, an outspoken supporter of free speech, has offered to provide whatever aid Snowden needs in securing asylum. Snowden’s fate is by no means secure, but it seems likely he will have options for asylum when it comes down to it, with Russia already considering it.

The case for asylum is going to be a strong one. The US government’s mistreatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning is sure to play a role, as are the bellicose calls of officials to make an example of Snowden. The case for Snowden facing persecution as opposed to prosecution is straightforward.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.