“Snowden on the Run”

June 24, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on June 24, 2013 released the following:

By DEVLIN BARRETT in Washington, D.C., and TE-PING CHEN in Hong Kong

“A global cat-and-mouse game involving the admitted leaker of National Security Agency secrets exploded into a diplomatic scramble, as U.S. authorities sought to catch Edward Snowden before he reached his next goal: political asylum in Ecuador.

Mr. Snowden’s unexpected Sunday flight to Moscow from Hong Kong exposed the apparent limits of America’s diplomatic and intelligence-gathering reach. At a time when Mr. Snowden has been the subject of intense interest from U.S. authorities, they were unable to prevent his departure from a jurisdiction generally viewed as friendly to U.S. extradition requests.

Washington had requested Hong Kong arrest Mr. Snowden in anticipation of extradition, and officials including Attorney General Eric Holder had reached out to authorities in the city to urge that request be honored, a U.S. official said. But it wasn’t until Mr. Snowden had left for Moscow that the Americans had found out that Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, viewed their request as “insufficient,” the official said.

According to people familiar with the case, the U.S. never asked Interpol, the international police agency, to issue a “red notice” for Mr. Snowden, which would have triggered alerts at airports to delay, if not stop outright, his departure.

The White House early Monday said it expects the Russian government to “look at all options available” to expel Mr. Snowden to the U.S. to face charges. The White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. also registered strong objections to authorities in Hong Kong and China through diplomatic channels over the decision to let Mr. Snowden flee.

Ecuador said it had received a request for asylum from Mr. Snowden, but that no decision had been reached.

The 30-year-old Mr. Snowden, who until May was a government contractor working at an NSA facility in Hawaii, has been hailed as a hero by some civil libertarians on the right and left after he said he disclosed the secrets to prompt a public debate about the NSA’s surveillance practices. But he has begun to draw harsh bipartisan criticism for involvement with countries such as China, Russia and Ecuador, which are at odds with the U.S. on many issues, and with WikiLeaks, a group that has published U.S. secrets in the past. China and Russia also drew barbs from U.S. lawmakers Sunday, raising the prospect of new strains in America’s relations with key powers at a time when President Barack Obama is seeking their help dealing with a host of foreign-policy concerns in places such as Syria, Iran and North Korea.

The Chinese government is almost certain to have approved Hong Kong’s decision to let Mr. Snowden leave because it pertains to national security and foreign relations, according to diplomats, analysts and Hong Kong legislators.

News of Mr. Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong fueled conflicting reports during the day of where he might be headed, and it sent a horde of journalists rushing to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport to await his expected arrival at a Soviet-era terminal.

No images surfaced of Mr. Snowden exiting Aeroflot flight 213 from Hong Kong. But an airport spokeswoman confirmed late Sunday that he was in the airport’s “transit zone”—where passengers await connecting flights to other countries. Passengers arriving in Moscow from abroad don’t need to have a Russian visa if they are booked on a connecting flight and stay within that zone.

Passengers on Mr. Snowden’s reported flight from Hong Kong said those on board the plane disembarked via a staircase on the runway rather than via a passenger walkway, which is unusual for big international arrivals. Two business-class passengers said they saw cars meet the plane, one of them a black-windowed, black sedan.

Russian media later reported that Mr. Snowden underwent a medical exam and was taken to a hotel inside the transit area.

The day was marked by a flurry of diplomatic and law-enforcement maneuvering, with U.S. authorities saying they had revoked Mr. Snowden’s passport and asking other countries not to harbor him. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Mr. Snowden “should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”

Mr. Obama was getting updates from national-security aides on Mr. Snowden’s travels, according to a senior administration official.

Mr. Snowden had traveled to Hong Kong from Hawaii on May 20, taking with him secret information detailing the government’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone-call records and its Internet surveillance program called Prism. That information formed the basis of articles in the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers that spurred intense public debate about U.S. surveillance methods.

A person familiar with Mr. Snowden’s case said his decision to get on a flight to Moscow was “very sudden,” made only in the day before departing. The decision was made in consultation with WikiLeaks, which encouraged Mr. Snowden to leave the city after communicating with others about his options abroad, the person said.

“He is very independent, but also very willing to listen to advice,” the person said, adding that Mr. Snowden was concerned that any further delay would result in his detainment by Hong Kong authorities. In part, Mr. Snowden’s determination to leave Hong Kong was based on the fear of losing access to the Internet—his vital link to the rest of the world—should he be detained, the person said. In part, Mr. Snowden’s determination to leave Hong Kong was based on the fear of losing access to the Internet—his vital link to the rest of the world—should he be detained, the person said.

At no point was Mr. Snowden questioned or detained by Hong Kong authorities, the person said, and neither was he told by local authorities to leave the city. The decision to get on a plane to Moscow was made independently by Mr. Snowden, the person said: “It seemed that time was of the essence.”

One American official said the U.S. had privately requested on June 15 that Hong Kong authorities provisionally arrest Mr. Snowden in anticipation of extradition. Two days later, Hong Kong authorities acknowledged receiving the request and said the matter was under review, the U.S. official said. This past Friday, Hong Kong asked for additional details about the charges and the evidence, according to the official. U.S. officials say they were responding to that request when they learned Hong Kong had allowed him to leave.

Jacques Semmelman, an extradition lawyer in New York, said U.S. officials “were double-crossed” by Hong Kong. “I find it inconceivable that the U.S. didn’t meet the standard, because the standard is very easy to meet,” he said.

A Hong Kong government spokesman Monday echoed a previous statement from the government, saying that, “according to the law, any persons who lawfully stay in Hong Kong, unless prohibited by law, shall be free to leave Hong Kong.”

Meanwhile, observers in Hong Kong said a prolonged legal battle over Mr. Snowden’s extradition in Hong Kong could have heightened U.S. pressure on Beijing and left Chinese authorities with few good choices.

“It’s good for Hong Kong and Beijing to get rid of this hot potato,” said James Sung, political scientist at City University of Hong Kong, adding that Mr. Snowden’s departure is a “relief for both Hong Kong and Beijing.”

The departure drew mixed reviews among the city’s lawmakers. “He has abandoned Hong Kong and that’s somewhat sad,” said legislator Claudia Mo. “Personally, I think Snowden owes Hong Kong people an explanation.” Ms. Mo was among the hundreds who rallied to support Mr. Snowden earlier this month, calling on Hong Kong to resist any U.S. request for his surrender.

“For Hong Kong, this was the best option,” said Regina Ip, the city’s former security secretary and a current legislator. She added that the city might not have had any other choice.

WikiLeaks, best known for publicizing a trove of secret U.S. government cables provided by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, said it was helping Mr. Snowden on his travel from Hong Kong to Russia and Ecuador. Whether Mr. Snowden will make it to South America was unclear late Sunday. The lack of a valid passport isn’t in itself enough to force the Russians to turn Mr. Snowden over to U.S. authorities.

Russia’s Interfax News Agency said Mr. Snowden was booked on a flight from Moscow to Cuba. There are no direct flights from Moscow to Ecuador.

Previously, Russian officials had said they would consider an asylum request from Mr. Snowden, if he made one.

Last year, Ecuador granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr. Snowden has been charged in a criminal complaint with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information. The last two charges are espionage-related, which complicated the matter.

The U.S. could have sought an Interpol red notice—the equivalent of an arrest warrant sent to its 190 member countries. But under Interpol guidelines, espionage charges are considered political, and the organization isn’t permitted to get involved in a matter of a military, political, racial or religious nature, an Interpol official said.

Douglas McNabb, a veteran extradition lawyer based in Washington, D.C., said if officials had charged Mr. Snowden initially with just the theft of government property, they could have tied Mr. Snowden down in Hong Kong, while U.S. prosecutors built a stronger case and negotiated with local authorities over possible additional charges.

“They could have gone the safe route, charged him with the theft, and then once you have him detained, they could then indict him,” said Mr. McNabb. “I think somebody dropped the ball. I think it was poorly done.”

A U.S. official said they didn’t seek a red notice on Mr. Snowden because the government was already negotiating with Hong Kong, and the charges had been sealed.

On a day when U.S. authorities were forced to react to the high-profile gamesmanship of Mr. Snowden, politicians in the U.S. could do little but vent their frustration at Russia and China.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Mr. Snowden’s choice of countries undercuts his claims to be defending privacy and freedom.

“The freedom trail is not exactly China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela. So I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there will be consequences if they harbor this guy,” Mr. Graham told Fox News.

Nanda Chitre, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, said the agency will “pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr. Snowden may be attempting to travel.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global 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.

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Interpol chief says countries not using databases

January 20, 2012

Deseret News on January 19, 2012 released the following:

“By Paisley Dodds, Associated Press

LONDON — Interpol’s chief sounded an alarm Thursday that countries are still failing to check identity documents against its database — a warning that comes just months before the 2012 Olympics.

Ron Noble, secretary-general of the international police agency based in France, said out of the 1.1 billion travelers last year, ID documents of about 500 million people were not checked against Interpol’s database, which is one of the world’s most detailed.

“It will take a tragedy — a specific kind of tragedy — for behavior to change,” Noble told The Associated Press after speaking to foreign correspondents in London.

Noble has said Britain is the only EU country to systematically check passports against those registered with Interpol as missing worldwide. Britain carried out 140 million checks last year against the database — more than the rest of Europe combined.

Last year, he said more than 11,000 people were caught trying to enter the U.K. using lost or stolen passports.

France carried out the second-highest number of checks at 10 million.

A special Interpol team will be sent specifically for the Olympics, helping British authorities determine whether anyone trying to enter the U.K. is wanted, whether their documents have been listed as lost or stolen and whether they are considered a threat.

He said the team will be smaller than the one Interpol sent to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup — an event where teams were at border crossings and airports.

“We know terrorists use fraudulent ID documents,” Noble said.

The U.K. Border Agency faced intense criticism last year after passport checks were relaxed during the height of the summer tourist season to lessen lines at London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest. A government report on Thursday blamed poor communications, a lack of supervision and other shortcomings for the problems.

Olympics security has been a primary concern since 1972, when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed at the Munich Games.

Noble said while there was no specific intelligence that the games would be targeted, such events provide an array of opportunities for criminals, including pickpocketing, forced prostitution, illegal Internet betting rings and hoaxes.

And then there is still the threat of terrorism. Noble said while al-Qaida’s ranks had been depleted, affiliates were actively recruiting in places like Somalia.

Another fear that Noble said “keeps him up at night” is the threat of a nuclear or biological attack. Interpol has been alerted to some 2,715 instances where there were questions of whether there had been illicit trafficking of nuclear material.

Noble stressed, however, that didn’t mean there were more 2,000 cases of trafficked nuclear material.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global 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 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.


Cricket looks to Interpol to help corruption fight

September 29, 2011

The Sacramento Bee on September 29, 2011 released the following:

“By ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LONDON — The International Cricket Council is in talks with Interpol about joining forces to help fight corruption in the sport.

Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit, told The Associated Press that he hopes the international police agency and his body can “mutually cooperate and work together.”

FIFA recently pledged to pay Interpol $29 million to help soccer crack down on match-fixing.

But speaking on the sideline of a World Sports Law Report conference in London, Flanagan says cricket lacks the funds to pay Interpol.

Even if an agreement with Interpol is signed, Flanagan says “unfortunately, investigations themselves fall back to our unit.””

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global 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 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.

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Interpol Widens Net in Hunt for Qaddafi and Sons

September 29, 2011

The New York Times on September 29, 2011 released the following:

“By KAREEM FAHIM and RICK GLADSTONE

TRIPOLI, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the fugitive former Libyan leader toppled from power a month ago, is likely to have taken refuge near the Algerian border under the protection of sympathetic nomadic tribesmen who have fought for him, an official of the new Libyan government said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Interpol also widened its net for members of his family.

The government official said Colonel Qaddafi’s son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, was likely to be hiding in the loyalist desert enclave of Bani Walid, and that a second son, Muatassim el-Qaddafi, a militia commander and former national security adviser, was probably in Surt, the Qaddafi clan’s hometown on the Mediterranean coast.

On Thursday, Interpol, the international police agency based in Lyon, France, placed a third son, Saadi el-Qaddafi, 38, on the equivalent of its most wanted list, publishing what it called a Red Notice for him to be sought on charges of “allegedly misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation.”

In a statement, Interpol said it had confirmed reported that Colonel Qaddafi’s third son who had a reputation for dissolute behavior as a soccer player in Italy was last seen in Niger. Interpol said the alert was the first to be issued at the request of Libya’s Transitional National Council.

Previous such alerts for Colonel Qaddafi himself and members of his family and entourage were issued at the request of the International Criminal Court, where they are accused of crimes against humanity, Interpol said.

The Interpol statement said the younger Mr. Qaddafi had commanded military units “allegedly involved in the repression of demonstrations by civilians during Libya’s uprising” and, since March, had been subject to a United Nations travel ban and a freeze on his assets. Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble was quoted as saying the Red Notice would “significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders” and would enable neighboring countries to arrest him with a view to returning him to Libya.

Armed supporters of Colonel Qaddafi in Bani Walid and Surt have defied demands for surrender by anti-Qaddafi forces who have besieged both towns. And despite days of bombardment by NATO warplanes, the colonel’s loyalists, with a seemingly plentiful supply of ammunition, have repelled repeated advances. On Wednesday, anti-Qaddafi commanders sent at least five tanks into Surt; they quickly came under fire by Grad rockets, which barely missed the tanks, Reuters reported.

The fierce resistance has helped fuel the speculation that senior Qaddafi family members are hiding in the two towns. In recent weeks, military commanders from Misurata, who have led the fight to take Surt, have said that they have heard Muatassim el-Qaddafi’s voice on radio transmissions, and witnesses have told anti-Qaddafi fighters that Seif al-Islam has been seen in Bani Walid.

The latest information about Colonel Qaddafi and his two sons was reported by Hisham Buhagiar, a military official in the Transitional National Council, in an interview with Reuters.

He said Colonel Qaddafi, who has not appeared in public since his opponents overran Tripoli in late August and drove him underground, was sheltering near the western town of Ghadamis, near the border with Algeria, under the protection of the Tuaregs, tribesmen who roam the Sahara traversing Libya and its neighboring nations.

Mr. Buhagiar did not explain the sources of his information. Previous assertions by the Transitional National Council about their whereabouts have not proved accurate.

The council’s political leaders continued their efforts to try to form a working government, a process that has stalled amid in-fighting and regional rivalries. A list of cabinet members released unofficially on Wednesday by a person with knowledge of the deliberations included prominent names from the eastern city of Benghazi and seemed intended to placate leaders from that region, but it was not clear whether former rebels from other areas would be satisfied.

A powerful Tripoli militia leader, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, warned that Islamists should not be ignored in the new government.

Mr. Belhaj, a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, wrote in The Guardian on Tuesday: “What worries us is the attempt of some secular elements to isolate and ignore others. Libya’s Islamists have announced their commitment to democracy; despite this, some reject their participation and call for them to be marginalized.

“We will not allow this.””

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global 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 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.

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