Edward Snowden Charged by a Federal Criminal Complaint With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

June 22, 2013

CNN on June 21, 2013 released the following:

“U.S. charges Snowden with espionage

By Chelsea J. Carter and Carol Cratty, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Federal prosecutors have charged Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs, with espionage and theft of government property, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Virginia on Friday.

The United States has asked Hong Kong, where Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain the former National Security Agency contract analyst on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Hong Kong police did not confirm whether they received an arrest request, but Commissioner Andy Tsang said Saturday if they did, authorities would process it in accordance with law.

The complaint charges Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. The latter two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act.

Snowden, 30, has admitted in interviews he was the source behind the leak of classified documents about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Those leaks were the basis of reports in Britain’s Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post this month. The Guardian revealed Snowden’s identify at his request.

The documents revealed the existence of top-secret surveillance programs that collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and monitor the Internet activity of overseas residents.

The revelation rocked the Obama administration and U.S. intelligence community, raising questions about secret operations of the NSA and whether the agency was infringing on American civil liberties.

Obama, top legislators and national security officials defend the surveillance programs as necessary to combat terrorism and argue that some privacy must be sacrificed in a balanced approach.

They say the law allows collection of metadata, such as the time and numbers of phone calls, and that a special federal court must approve accessing the content — listening to the call itself.

Snowden is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, where he said in interviews earlier this month he fled with the classified documents after taking a leave of absence from his job as an intelligence analyst for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamiliton. The company has since fired him.

A series of blog posts this week purportedly by Snowden said he leaked classified details about U.S. surveillance programs because President Barack Obama worsened “abusive” practices, instead of curtailing them as he promised as a candidate.

However, Obama “closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge,” a blog post said. The Guardian newspaper and website identified the author as Snowden.

Snowden said that he had to get out of the United States before the leaks were published by the Guardian and The Washington Post to avoid being targeted by the government.

In the interview with the South China Morning Post, he said he plans to stay in Hong Kong to fight any attempt to force him to return to the United States because he has “faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law.”

The complaint against him was filed under seal on June 14 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, but it was unclear from the document whether the United States has asked or will be asking Hong Kong to detain Snowden.

There have been “some preliminary” discussions with Hong Kong authorities, a U.S. official with knowledge of the process told CNN.

The U.S. signed an extradition treaty with Hong Kong in 1996, just seven months before the then British colony was handed back to Beijing. Hong Kong’s extradition laws had previously been governed by the United States-United Kingdom extradition treaty.

This new treaty established an agreement under Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” that allows Hong Kong autonomy from Beijing in all matters apart from defense and foreign policy.”

As Federal Criminal Lawyer Douglas C. McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal crimes:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“‘Not a crime to make known crime of a state’: Senior Swedish judge backs Assange”

April 4, 2013

RT on April 3, 2013 released the following:

“A top Swedish judge has defended the release of classified information by WikiLeaks, pointing out the case against Assange has turned into a legal “mess.”

“It should never be a crime to make known crime of a state,” Stefan Lindskog told the audience at a public lecture he gave at Adelaide University, according to Australian Associated Press.

The judge, who is one of the 16 justices working for the Supreme Court of Sweden, revealed an extraordinary amount of detail on Assange’s sexual assault case, despite not sitting on it.

The official also indicated that the courts may rule against sending the WikiLeaks founder to the US due to some conditions of the existing extradition treaty between the two countries.

“Extradition shall not be granted when alleged crimes [are] military or political in nature,” Lindskog stressed.

Moreover, according to the judge, it was debatable whether Assange would have committed a crime under Swedish law.

“What is classified under US law is probably not classified under Swedish law, and enemies to the US may not be enemies to Sweden,” AAP quoted the official as saying.

Lindskog added that extensive media coverage of the case has entailed the public distrust in the legal system.

“I think it is a mess,” he said.

Finally, the judge supported the American soldier Bradley Manning, who provided some of the classified information to WikiLeaks. Lindskog said he hoped Manning would go through a fair trial, saying that the release of classified information was for the benefit of mankind.

Prior to the speech, Assange condemned Lindskog’s decision to speak in Australia, calling it “absolutely outrageous.”

The 41-year-old whistleblower, an Australian citizen, has spent nine months in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, after claiming asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.

Assange fears that once in Sweden, he could be extradited to America where, according to his lawyers, he is most likely to face trial and possibly even the death penalty for the release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables, some of them about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Prosecutors: Ga. company schemed to avoid millions of dollars in import taxes on Chinese paper

October 23, 2012

The Washington Press on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

ATLANTA — A company in suburban Atlanta schemed to avoid paying millions of dollars in import taxes on cheap notebooks and loose-leaf paper from China by falsifying records and bribing customs officials in Taiwan, federal prosecutors said in an indictment.

Jennifer Chen, chief financial officer of Apego, Inc., entered a not guilty plea on Monday in federal court in Atlanta. The indictment handed down by a grand jury last week also charges her ex-husband, company CEO Chi Cheng “Curtis” Gung, and Apego with conspiracy and 12 counts of importing notebooks and filler paper from China using false documents.

A judge granted Chen $25,000 cash bond on the condition that she surrender her passport and agree to electronic monitoring. A lawyer for Gung told prosecutors that his client traveled to Taiwan last week to be treated for a grave medical condition and plans to surrender voluntarily next month.

Three Chinese paper manufacturers, a Taiwanese company, and their CEOs are also named in the indictment and face conspiracy and fraudulent importation charges. They are: Forth Wu, 69, a Taiwanese citizen who owns and operates Fromus Psyche International, Inc.; and Zuoru He, 66, a Chinese citizen who controls and partly owns three companies that make up The Watanabe Group.

Wu and He are believed to be in Taiwan and China, respectively, prosecutors said. The U.S. does not have extradition treaties with either nation.

“They are accused of avoiding over 20 million dollars in ‘anti-dumping’ duties by shipping stationery made in China through Taiwan, bribing Taiwanese customs officials, and exporting the goods from there into the United States, falsely relabeled ‘Made in Taiwan,’” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Commerce began investigating whether Chinese companies that make notebooks, loose-leaf paper and other lined paper products were selling their goods at an artificially low price, sometimes even below cost. Foreign companies sometimes engage in the practice, known as dumping, with the aim of doing so long enough to put competitors out of business. Once the competition is eliminated, a foreign firm can then raise prices to recover the temporary cost of the scheme. Dumping is a prohibited and unfair trade practice under U.S. law.

The Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission determined in 2006 that Chinese manufacturers had been dumping certain lined paper products in the U.S. To offset the artificially low prices in the U.S. market, Chinese paper manufacturers were ordered to pay anti-dumping import tariffs of between 76 and 258 percent. There are no such duties on lined paper from Taiwan.

To skirt the anti-dumping tariffs, Apego, Fromus and the companies in The Watanabe Group came up with a scheme to move large shipments of paper from China through Taiwan, prosecutors say. Authorities allege that they hired temporary workers in Taiwan to put “Made in Taiwan” labels on loads of Chinese paper destined for an American national retailer that wasn’t named in court papers. As Apego gained more customers and large orders, company officials began paying bribes to Taiwanese customs officials to look the other way when containers full of paper from China came into ports already labeled “Made in Taiwan,” according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say the scheme began to fall apart in the summer of 2007 when U.S. container security officers based at a Taiwanese port noticed suspicious documentation on shipments of paper bound for the U.S. and alerted other customs officials in the U.S. and Taiwan. The full extent of the conspiracy was discovered when Apego fired Gung’s executive assistant, who gave a copy of the hard drive from her company laptop to the Department of Homeland Security, authorities say.

Apego was incorporated under the laws of Texas and was based in the Georgia community of Lilburn until October 2006, when it moved its headquarters to Lawrenceville. Officials say that in 2007, the company began operating as Aclor, Inc., and relocated to the Texas-Mexico border.

The maximum penalty for a conviction on the conspiracy charge is 5 years in prison, a $1 million fine for a corporation, a $250,000 fine for an individual, and three years of supervised release. The maximum penalty for the fraudulent importation charges is 2 years in prison, a $1 million fine for a corporation, a $250,000 fine for an individual, and one year of supervised release for each count.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Christopher Tappin Extradition: US Judge Rules Businessman To Remain In Jail

March 5, 2012

The Huffington Post UK on March 5, 2012 released the following:

“A US judge’s decision to remand a retired British businessman in custody while he awaits trial on arms dealing charges was “heartbreaking”, his wife said tonight.

Elaine Tappin said it was an “outrage” that her 65-year-old husband Christopher has been refused bail after he was extradited to the United States two weeks ago.

Judge Robert Castaneda ruled Tappin must remain in custody after US prosecutors told the federal court in El Paso, Texas, he may be a “danger to the community” if released.

Mrs Tappin, 62, of Orpington, Kent, said: “This is an outrage. God only knows how he’ll bear up. It’s heartbreaking.”

Tappin has spent 23 hours a day locked in his cell at the Otero County detention centre in New Mexico since he was extradited to America.

His wife went on: “I am shocked and deeply disappointed.

“He’s a man of his word and is certainly not at risk of fleeing – where would he go?

“He doesn’t have his passport or access to money.

“Why has the British Government allowed him to be incarcerated in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day before he’s even been tried?

“Tony Blair helped the NatWest Three, why can’t David Cameron help Chris?”

Mrs Tappin added: “He’s not a danger to anyone – he’s a 65-year-old granddad.

“How is he supposed to prepare a proper defence when he’s only been allowed to communicate with his lawyers from behind a plastic screen?”

Tappin lost his two-year battle against extradition to America two weeks ago and denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.

The president of the Kent Golf Union, who faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted, was escorted into the courtroom on Friday wearing an orange-red prison jumpsuit, with his feet and one hand shackled.

US marshals allowed the other hand to remain free so he could use a cane he needs to walk.

Assistant US attorney Greg McDonald asked the judge to keep Tappin in jail for the remainder of the proceedings.

“The risk is not that he’ll punch somebody in the face, but through the use of a computer and the knowledge he has, he might pose a danger to the community,” Mr McDonald said.

Tappin has no ties to the US and failed to disclose to court officials his frequent travels to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, he added.

But Kent Schaffer, representing Tappin, said if released, his client would have complied with any restrictions imposed by the court and his family was ready to post bail of 50,000 dollars (£31,600).

His case fuelled the row over the fairness of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC said Tappin’s extradition highlighted problems with the treaty which were not “readily curable”, warning that many Britons were left uneasy when faced with the seemingly harsh and disproportionate sentences in the American justice system.

Other critics of the 2003 treaty, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, have described it as “one-sided”, but an independent review by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Scott Baker last year found it was both balanced and fair.

Tappin’s extradition follows an investigation which started in 2005 when US agents asked technology providers about buyers who might have raised red flags.

Those customers were then approached by undercover companies set up by government agencies.

Briton Robert Gibson, an associate of Tappin who agreed to co-operate, was jailed for 24 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to export defence articles.

Gibson provided ICE agents with about 16,000 computer files and emails indicating that he and Tappin had long-standing commercial ties with Iranian customers.

American Robert Caldwell was also found guilty of aiding and abetting the illegal transport of defence articles and served 20 months in prison.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.