The former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a highly classified surveillance program has had his U.S. passport revoked.
A U.S. official on Sunday said Edward Snowden's passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia. Snowden's travel plans could be complicated - but not thwarted - by a lack of passport. The U.S. official said that if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport.
The former contractor is said to be in Moscow and his allies at anti-secrecy WikiLeaks say Snowden is bound for Ecuador. The foreign minister there says he has requested asylum.
The U.S. official would only discuss the passport on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter.
The controversy over sweeping Obama administration electronic surveillance programs is heating up with the request by the U.S. government for the extradition of government contractor Edward Snowden, who released the classified information.
The administration today voiced concern about getting Snowden extradited from Hong Kong, where the 30-year-old has been holed up in recent days.
The White House sharply warned Hong Kong against slow-walking his extradition. This reflects anxiety in Washington over what could turn into a prolonged legal battle before the Snowden ever appears in court to answer espionage charges.
A formal extradition request to bring Snowden home from Hong Kong could drag through appeal courts for years. Not only that, it could Beijing against Washington at a time when China is trying to deflect U.S. accusations that it carries out extensive surveillance on American government and commercial operations.
The National Security Council confirmed in a statement Saturday that the U.S. has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek Snowden's extradition, the National Security Council said Saturday in a statement. The NSC advises the president on national security.
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