WASHINGTON — Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who says he revealed that the National Security Agency collects Americans’ phone records and Internet data from U.S. communication companies, now faces charges of espionage and theft of government property.
Snowden is believed to be in Hong Kong, which could complicate efforts to bring him to a U.S. federal court to answer charges that he engaged in unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information.
In addition to those charges, both brought under the Espionage Act, the government charged Snowden with theft of government property. Each crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The one-page criminal complaint against Snowden was unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., part of the Eastern District of Virginia where his former employer, government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, in McLean.
The complaint is dated June 14, five days after Snowden’s name first surfaced as the person who had leaked to the news media that the NSA, in two highly classified surveillance programs, gathered telephone and Internet records to ferret out terror plots.
Read more at Official Wire. By Pete Yost.