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Edward Snowden Comes Forward as NSA Leaker

Edward Snowden told the British newspaper the Guardian that he revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of telephone and Internet data because he believed the program to be “an existential threat to democracy.”

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National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s application for political asylum has been approved, and he has left a Moscow airport, Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told CNN on Thursday.

snowdenSnowden has legal status in Russia for one year, Kucherena said, but the attorney would not disclose his location, citing security reasons.

On Wednesday night, a lawyer representing Lon Snowden, Edward Snowden’s father, appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360″ and said that Snowden was in good health in Russia and that his lawyer was open to hammering out an ending that would satisfy all.

Attorney Bruce Fein relayed the conversation he had Kucherena.

“There may be a time, where it would be constructive to try and meet and see whether there can’t be common ground that everyone agrees would advance the interest, the United States, Mr. Snowden, Lon, his father, and the interest of Russia in trying to resolve this in a way that honors due process and the highest principles of fairness and civilization,” Fein said.

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MOSCOW — U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is grounded in Moscow’s airport, but his future is up in the air.

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Reports circulated Tuesday that Snowden has accepted Venezuelan asylum.

A tweet by a Russian lawmaker Tuesday announced that Snowden had accepted Venezuela’s offer of asylum, giving the impression that the American had evaded U.S. authorities again. But the news remains unconfirmed.

The lawmaker who sent the tweet, Russian parliamentary spokesman Alexei Pushkov, deleted the message and followed up by saying he got the news from a media report.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua was slated to talk with reporters Tuesday afternoon and could shed some light on the reports.

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WASHINGTON — The United States has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday.

Federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Virginia on Friday.

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U.S. officials sought extradition of Edward Snowden from Hong Kong in the NSA leaks case.

The United States already asked Hong Kong, where Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain the former National Security Agency contract analyst on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

“If 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,” the administration official said.

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nsa-leakerWASHINGTON, DC — Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint charging Edward Snowden with espionage, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Snowden, who admitted leaking classified details about U.S. surveillance programs, was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.

The complaint was filed June 14 in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered and a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications, according to The Post.

The 29-year-old fled to Hong Kong last month with highly classified documents he obtained while working as a systems analyst at an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The United States asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant, the newspaper reported.

HONG KONG — U.S. intelligence agents have been hacking computer networks around the world for years, apparently targeting fat data pipes that push immense amounts of data around the Internet, NSA leaker Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday.

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Edward Snowden

Among some 61,000 reported targets of the National Security Agency, Snowden said, are thousands of computers in China — which U.S. officials have increasingly criticized as the source of thousands of attacks on U.S. military and commercial networks. China has denied such attacks.

The Morning Post said it had seen documents provided by Snowden but was unable to verify their authenticity. The English-language news agency, which operates in Hong Kong, also said it was unable to independently verify allegations of U.S. hacking of networks in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009.

Snowden told the paper that some of the targets included the Chinese University of Hong Kong, public officials and students. The documents also “point to hacking activity by the NSA against mainland targets,” the newspaper reported.

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NEW YORK — The firm Booz Allen Hamilton has fired Edward Snowden, the 29-year contractor who exposed the National Security Agency’s phone and Internet monitoring program.

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Edward Snowden

Booz Allen, in a statement Monday, also confirmed reports that Snowden was an employee of the firm for less than three months, working in Hawaii. The firm said he was paid an annual salary of $122,000, a figure substantially less than the $200,000 that has been previously reported.

Booz Allen reiterated again that it was shocked by the reports that one of its employees was the leaker and that the company was working with authorities on the criminal investigation.

Snowden told the British newspaper the Guardian that he revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of telephone and Internet data because he believed the program to be “an existential threat to democracy.”

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HONG KONG — The White House said Monday it welcomes a debate over the electronic surveillance programs exposed by a National Security Agency contractor, even as federal agents began building a case against the self-proclaimed leaker.

Edward Snowden told the British newspaper the Guardian that he left behind his family and a six-figure job in Hawaii to reveal the extent of the NSA’s collection of telephone and Internet data, which he called “an existential threat to democracy.”

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Edward Snowden admits he’s behind of one of the biggest leaks in U.S. history.

The 29-year-old worked for computer consultant Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the U.S. electronic intelligence agency.

Snowden said he expects to be prosecuted for the leak, and a federal law enforcement official said Monday that FBI agents have begun an investigation by searching the 29-year-old’s home and computers and seeking interviews with his girlfriend, relatives, friends and co-workers.

Snowden outed himself Sunday in the Guardian, which began publishing details of his revelations last week.

He said he expects to be prosecuted but acted in hopes of ending what he called an excessively intrusive system, the Guardian reported.

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(File photo)

The U.S. government has obtained a top secret court order that requires Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency on an “ongoing daily basis,” the UK-based Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The four-page order, which The Guardian published on its website, requires the communications giant to turn over “originating and terminating” telephone numbers as well as the location, time and duration of the calls. The order, published on the newspaper’s website, does not require the contents of conversations to be turned over.

CNN has so far been unable to independently verify the authenticity of the document.

If genuine, the order gives the NSA blanket access to the records of millions of Verizon customers’ domestic and foreign phone calls made between April 25, when the order was signed, and July 19, when it expires.

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