United States Charges Snowden With Espionage 

The US has asked Hong Kong to detain NSA leaker Edward Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant for espionage.

US authorities filed espionage charges against the former National Security Administration contractor who leaked documents exposing the agency's top-secret surveillance programs.

The one-page criminal complaint detailing charges against Edward Snowden was filed June 14, the Washington Post first reported.

It was unsealed Friday night.

In it, the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee is charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property.

Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to NBC News.

Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment and can then take steps to secure Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong for a criminal trial in the United States.

Snowden could challenge the government's request for extradition in Hong Kong court.

The 29-year-old has admitted to providing the news media information about massive government surveillance of phone records and online activity in the United States earlier this month.

He has said the public deserved to know that the US government had ramped up domestic spying, and claimed the records kept by intelligence agencies could easily be used against innocent people.

A petition to pardon Snowden was started soon after on the White House website.

It needs to reach 100,000 signatures by July 9 to receive an official White House response. As of Friday night, there were more than 94,000 signatures.

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