Following formal espionage charges filed against PRISM leaker Edward Snowden on Friday, White House officials today publicly pressured Hong Kong authorities to give him up.
“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,” a senior Obama administration official told Reuters Saturday afternoon.
At this point, Hong Kong doesn’t seem to have much choice: It doesn’t have many compelling reasons not to extradite Snowden — certainly not one strong enough to incur the U.S. government’s wrath. Hong Kong currently has an extradition treaty with the U.S., but it includes exceptions for espionage and other political issues.
Tom Donilon, the White House National Security Adviser, also offered up his own comments on the matter to CBS News today:
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… 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.