WAPO: Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage

The Washington Post reports Edward Snowden has been charged in a sealed complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia with espionage, theft and conversion of government property.

The U.S. is expected to seek a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden and his extradition from Hong Kong. Snowden can fight the extradition. The treaty does not allow extradition for political offenses.

The complaint was filed June 14. The U.S. has 60 days to indict Snowden. The affidavit in support of the Complaint is sealed. [More...]

The AP reports:
A one-page criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., says Snowden engaged in unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information. Snowden also is charged with theft of government property. All three carry a maximum 10-year prison penalty.
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    Your tax dollars at work. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:42:29 AM EST
    Death for the man who told us that our government is routinely spying on us, listening to our communications and monitoring others without that antiquated, so so passé, warrant.

    Death to him also for letting us know that our government is also routinely spying on our "allies" - whoever they are.

    I feel so safe now that I know that our government is out to fry, shoot or inject Mr. Snowden.

    I feel so ashamed that it even passed through my mind that I would have preferred that the government charged, in a sealed or unsealed complaint, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice (the shoe-shopper), Mr. Rummy and Mr. Obama with violating the constitution - with appropriate punishments looming. It's been a wonderful 12 years of foreign and domestic carnage. Thanks, guys.

    Death to the source of the information.
    Long live the snooping.
    God is Great.

    Espionage? Spying? (3.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Edger on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:46:13 PM EST
    Are Obama and Keith Alexander named as co-defendants?

    I just read that AP article (none / 0) (#1)
    by Teresa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:20:09 PM EST
    The more I read, the more dumb/uninformed I realize I am. I had read and seen (mostly at DK and from GW interviews on CNN) that he would face life in prison and even the death penalty.

    So the sentence is only 10 years for one conviction? I guess they could make him serve 30? Is the AP wrong & Glenn W. right?

    By "only", I don't mean to minimize that. I sure wouldn't want to spend 10 years locked up somewhere.

    Take a look at (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:48:34 AM EST
    section 793 of the federal criminal code, in particular subsection (d).  That's the 10-year (max) offense.  Then you can compare it to section 794, which is the time-of-war and aiding-the-enemy provision, which has a life maximum or even potentially a death penalty (which may or may not be constitutional).

    Thank you, Peter. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:26:35 PM EST
    So the AP or their source doesn't really know? He could still get life due to aiding-the-enemy? Of course, 30 years to me would be about the same thing.

    By the time this ever reached court, if it does, he'd be in his 60s if the three 10 year sentences are served consecutively.

    I think even if one disagreed with how he went about this, 30 years is pretty stiff.


    Depends what he's charged with (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Peter G on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:59:52 PM EST
    The implication of the leaked story on the "sealed" charges is that it's section 793, which is not the "aiding the enemy" provision (sec 794) that Bradley Manning is charged under.  And remember that when we refer to a maximum sentence we mean the highest sentence that a judge, in his or her discretion, might choose to impose, assuming the person is convicted of that offense.  The maximum possible sentence is not necessarily the likely actual sentence; no one could predict that at this point.  (The man hasn't even been arrested, much less tried or convicted, after all.)  

    Peter (none / 0) (#15)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:28:55 AM EST
    The South China Morning Post has a new article out.

    The former technician for the US Central Intelligence Agency and contractor for the National Security Agency provided documents revealing attacks on computers over a four-year period.

    If he "provided documents" to China, does this cross over to the aiding the enemy part? Assuming that article is correct?

    Link to article


    I read your link, Teresa. The article does not (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by caseyOR on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:32:23 AM EST
    say Snowden provided documents to the Chinese government. It says he provided the information to the newspaper in which the story appears. That seems very different to me than giving documents to a foreign government.

    It's the 3rd paragraph unless I'm reading (none / 0) (#19)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:22:13 AM EST
    it wrong.

    The former technician for the US Central Intelligence Agency and contractor for the National Security Agency provided documents revealing attacks on computers over a four-year period.

    We are talking about the same paragraph. (none / 0) (#24)
    by caseyOR on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:15:38 AM EST
    I did not get from that paragraph the idea that the documents were given to the government of China. I think he gave documents to the reporter who wrote the story. And giving them to the reporter is very different that giving them to China.

    He gave documents to Greenwald, who articles about Snowden are published in a British newspaper. And that is not the same as giving the documents to the British government.

    Does this make sense, Teresa?


    I also think it's very different, however (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Peter G on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:11:21 PM EST
    that's the very theory that the U.S. is deploying in court to prosecute Manning for "aiding the enemy":  that by giving documents to Wikileaks to post on the internet, he intended the natural and probable downstream consequences of that action ... that the documents would then come into the hands of, and be useful to, al Quaeda and the Taliban, which are our "enemies" under the AUMF.

    Yes, makes sense. I didn't say he gave (none / 0) (#25)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:35:37 AM EST
    them to the Chinese Gov't, but my post did imply that. I guess it's just that they can't tell the government no. No one will convince me that they can tell the government no. I think it's the official (or one of if they have more than one) government media that's already written an editorial about it. Besides, once it's in the media, it's known and embarrassing to China and gives them the high road when they're on the same low road we are.

    It's funny reading that and knowing they're doing the same to us.

    You know I have mixed feelings about what he did, but my hope for him, due to his parents, especially, is to negotiate a single charge with less than a ten year sentence. I don't think they can let him off totally due to setting a precedent, but I think they should use him to show them control weaknesses in their systems. That's pitiful. No system admin should have access to every single file. It should be divided up. He's obviously a genius with computers, it seems. I feel bad for him, I really do.


    One of the more amusing things about (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by caseyOR on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:42:23 AM EST
    all this is watching various governments acting all upset about the digital spying when they are doing the very same thing.

    We hack China's government and military and business systems. They hack ours. Obama has been making a bit of a stink with the Chinese over their hacking our stuff. A really big stink. Now, well, guess what, we do it too.

    And really, is anyone shocked to learn that governments spy on each other?


    Casey, PLEASE correct me if (none / 0) (#23)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:36:16 AM EST
    I post anything in error or misunderstand it. I'm on an extremely high dose of Neurontin for this stenosis and it dulls my brain sometimes. I try not to take it and then my feet and hands get so numb I can't hold anything or walk.

    You be my editor/factchecker :) I promise, I won't be offended! Actually, that goes for any of you here.


    Maybe I should correct that to (none / 0) (#16)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:37:38 AM EST
    true Espionage, rather than aiding the enemy since China's not technically an "enemy".

    I read that. (none / 0) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:45:31 AM EST
    that Iceland offered him asylum.

    They did that for that other arch-criminal relentlessly sought by our government, Bobby Fischer.

    Snowden might consider getting himself a ticket and getting the he!! out of Hong Kong while the getting is good...

    Here come the drones.

    There is not enough room in Hong Kong (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:52:10 AM EST
    to operate a drone.  Or so I think ....

    It's (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:05:12 AM EST
    the next generation: the "mini-drone".

    WSWS on decision to file charges (none / 0) (#8)
    by Andreas on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:56:02 AM EST
    The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site call on workers and youth to come to the defense of Snowden, along with Bradley Manning, who is currently facing potentially capital charges of "aiding the enemy," and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been taking refuge for more than a year in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain.

    All sections of the political and media establishment--"liberal" and conservative, Democratic and Republican--have joined in witch-hunting Snowden and defending the NSA, CIA and Pentagon. Their complete indifference to massive violations of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties underscores the absence of any serious commitment to democratic rights within the ruling class.

    The social constituency for defending democratic rights is the American and international working class. These rights can be defended only through the independent political mobilization of the working class against capitalism--the source of war, social inequality and the drive toward dictatorship.

    Edward Snowden charged with espionage
    By Eric London and Joseph Kishore, 22 June 2013

    Hey Andreas (none / 0) (#13)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:28:43 PM EST
    Manning's charges aren't capital. They aren't seeking the death penalty. Those authors should have known that.

    Capital charges (none / 0) (#17)
    by Andreas on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:42:43 AM EST
    The article states that Bradley Manning "is currently facing potentially capital charges of 'aiding the enemy,'"

    "Aiding the enemy" is a charge which can result in a death penalty. While the Obama administration is currently not seeking the death penalty this does not imply that the "court" is bound by that. And it does not imply that the regime will not change its mind. Trusting a despotic regime is naive.


    I wouldn't call them what you do, (none / 0) (#22)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:28:20 AM EST
    and I honestly don't think they'll change their mind. I need MilitaryTracy to tell me how much influence the government has over military court. A lot, I would guess, but maybe not.

    So you think (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:42:41 AM EST
    He should face NO charges?

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Andreas on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:41:38 PM EST
    Edward Snowden should face no charges.

    Those responsible for the crimes committed by the U.S. government should face charges - including murder and torture.

    And I think the American people should charge those who are trying to create a police state with treason. That includes Barack Obama and other leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties.


    Got it (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:18:16 AM EST
    People who commit crimes that you agree with shouldn't be charged.

    These are not mutually exclusive - just because you think the government (or individuals in the government) broke the law, does not mean that Snowden too, did not break the law.

    See, that's the rub - if you knowingly break the law - whether for evil or with good intentions, then you should be willing to take the consequence.  Snowden was not ignorant of this fact, and he felt so strongly, that he went ahead with it anyway.  He had to know there would be repercussions.

    And you realize if the US government say , "Oh sure, our bad.  You go along and we won't charge you," that just opens the flood gate for anyone to release any information to anyone at anytime, don't you?

    Your outlook on life sounds good in theory.  Too bad it's not practical anywhere in the real world.


    Edward Snowden did not commit a crime (none / 0) (#32)
    by Andreas on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:41:59 AM EST
    Edward Snowden did not commit any crime. He is representing the interests of the American people and the world population against a criminal gang which represents a tiny minority of super rich people and is involved in high treason to create a police state within the U.S. and worldwide.

    And you realize if the US government say , "Oh sure, our bad.  You go along and we won't charge you," that just opens the flood gate for anyone to release any information to anyone at anytime, don't you?

    There certainly are a lot more crimes committed by the U.S. Government which should be revealed. The more the better.


    Useful idiot or spy? Part 2 (none / 0) (#9)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:59:59 PM EST

    "Edward Snowden, the former CIA technician who blew the whistle on global surveillance operations, has opened a new front against the US authorities, claiming they hacked into Chinese mobile phone companies to access millions of private text messages"

    Neither, IMO (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:46:21 PM EST
    But certainly a great planner.

    How China is using the Snowden leaks (none / 0) (#11)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:33:27 PM EST
    Snowden is a GONE from HK (none / 0) (#20)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:24:12 AM EST
    He flew commercial to Moscow and then is going somewhere else. As I posted in the open thread, I read he wouldn't be able to fly out of Hong Kong even on a private plane without the government stopping him, unless they ignored our warrant. They did, I guess!

    Link to South China Morning Post (none / 0) (#21)
    by Teresa on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:26:12 AM EST
    Link. Yikes, I'm going to have to register there if I read one more article. They should open it up while this is going on.