WASHINGTON (AP) - The former government intelligence contractor who says he revealed that the National Security Agency collects Americans' phone records and Internet data from U.S. communications companies has been charged with espionage and theft of government property.
Edward Snowden is believed to be in Hong Kong, which could complicate efforts to bring him to federal court in the U.S. to answer the charges.
In addition to two charges brought under the Espionage Act, the government has charged Snowden with theft of government property. Each crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
It's unclear whether the U.S. has yet to begin an effort to extradite Snowden. He could contest extradition on grounds of political persecution.