On Thursday morning, the BBC reported that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower and fugitive accused of espionage for leaking details about the NSA's PRISM surveillance program, has left Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow. BBC's coverage intimates that the United States' bid to extradite the 30-year-old former Booz Allen Hamilton employee was purposefully rejected by the local government, thus allowing Snowden enough time to slip through their fingers.
In a statement regarding the rejection of Snowden's extradition by the U.S., the Hong Kong administration said because "the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong." BBC quoted a Hong Kong law professor named Simon Young who found this decision "surprising," given Hong Kong's undemanding set of requirements for extradition.
"The U.S. government will wonder why the Hong Kong government feels the surrender paperwork needs to be fully in place before the provisional warrant can be obtained," BBC quoted Young as saying.
If Young's opinion that this warrant rejection is atypical, it stands to reason to conjecture Snowden and Hong Kong may have colluded, considering the rather convenient time of his departure — right when the Hong Kong Government began stalling on his capture. One also wonders whether Snowden flew from Hong Kong through a commercially available flight, or if he flew private with the assistance of some wealthy entity.
Sources suggest that Snowden may flee to another country soon enough, and may seek asylum in a nation that lacks an extradition treaty with the U.S.