International Law

As Eric Holder promises justice, Snowden may have more US secrets stored on thumb drive


As the world waits to see where former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden will surface after exposing a sweeping U.S. phone-surveillance program, it appears that he may have further secret files to reveal, at least some of which were transferred to a forbidden thumb drive.

In addition to collecting “metadata” about millions of phone calls made by Verizon customers and perhaps others within the U.S. over a period of some seven years, the feds may also have hacked into computer systems in other countries, according to the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.), USA Today and the Washington Post (reg. req.).

The South China Post reports that it interviewed Snowden and he said the U.S. had for years been hacking into computer systems in China and Hong Kong.

Last reported to be in Hong Kong, Snowden is likelier to find protection against extradition to the U.S., if that is what he is seeking, in countries such as France, Iceland or even Russia, observers have noted.

However, he has reportedly said he plans to fight extradition and remain in Hong Kong, which does have a history of cooperating with the U.S. in such matters and could possibly simply deport Snowden if he is not in the country legally. CBS News, Slate and TIME discuss extradition law and issues Snowden is likely to face.

In order to pursue extradition, the U.S. would have to criminally charge Snowden. That has not yet occurred, but Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference in Dublin on Friday that an investigation is ongoing. While he did not mention Snowden’s name, he said that justice will be done, according to Agence France-Presse and CNN.

“The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result [of] those leaks. The safety of the American people and the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks,” said Holder. “We are presently in the process of that investigation, and I’m confident the person who is responsible will be held accountable.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “US also collects Internet data; does NSA directly tap servers of Google and other top companies?”

ABAJournal.com: “ACLU sues Obama administration over NSA phone-records ‘dragnet’”

CNN: “Convicted U.S. spy Christopher Boyce: ‘Snowden is doomed’”

Reuters: “While working for spies, Snowden was secretly prolific online”

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