U.S. Charges Edward Snowden with Espionage; Asks Hong Kong for His Head

Published:6:18 pm EDT, June 21, 2013| Updated:7:16 pm EDT, June 21, 2013|
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snowden charged with espionage

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who blew the lid off America's top-secret domestic surveillance programs, has officially been deemed an enemy of the state.

The Washington Post reports the U.S. has requested that officials in Hong Kong detain Snowden, who has been charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property.

The sealed criminal complaint was filed in Virginia.

According to Cornell's Legal Information Institute, the maximum penalty for espionage is death — a punishment that comes into play if the offense involves a "major element of defense strategy" (see below). Would Snowden's leaking of secret spy programs qualify as a "major element"?

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