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US government pressures Hong Kong to extradite Edward Snowden

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Last night, it was revealed that the US government had filed charges against PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is currently in Hong Kong. While extraditing him and bringing him to trial could be a major challenge, the US government is putting pressure on Hong Kong to help the US bring him to justice. According to both CBS News and Reuters, a senior White House official said that "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."

Despite the thinly-veiled threat, the White House administration appears to believe that Hong Kong will cooperate with the extradition request. "We believe that the charges presented present a good case for extradition under the treaty, the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong," White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told CBS. "Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case." While the US and Hong Kong do have an extradition treaty, it does contain exceptions for political offenses, including espionage — a charge that was included in the US government's case against Snowden.