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NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Formally Charged with Espionage

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Edward Snowden speaks during an interview with The Guardian in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States' National Security Agency regarding telecom data. (Photo credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

Edward Snowden speaks during an interview with The Guardian in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency regarding telecom data. (Photo credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the Washington Post is reporting, asking Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant.

It’s been nearly two weeks since Snowden revealed himself as the former National Security Agency systems analyst who leaked documents regarding top-secret government surveillance programs.

When he took haven in Hong Kong, which has an extradition treaty with the U.S., he said it was because it provided him the “cultural and legal framework” to allow him to “work without being immediately detained.”

It was a matter of time before Justice Department officials took the next step in their criminal investigation of Snowden. Filing a criminal complaint gives prosecutors the legal basis to make the request of the authorities in Hong Kong, the Washington Post says.

Prosecutors will now have 60 days to file an indictment, at which point they can move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial on U.S. soil, according to the report.

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