If Edward Snowden’s flight from U.S. justice can be blamed on a mixup over his middle name, the Justice Department doesn’t buy it.
U.S. officials rejected suggestions by Hong Kong authorities that part of the problem in the U.S. request for his provisional arrest was that U.S. documents incorrectly listed his middle name. Since Mr. Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked secret documents, left Hong Kong on Sunday for Russia, U.S. officials have tersely, but obliquely, questioned whether other issues, namely influence from Beijing, were to blame, and not Hong Kong’s claim of technical problems with the U.S. request.
They scoffed at the middle name mixup. The initial provisional arrest warrant request only listed his name as Edward J Snowden, a senior U.S. law enforcement said.
“Is this the best they got?” the senior U.S. law enforcement official said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Mr. Snowden’s photo and videos were widely disseminated in the media. And when Hong Kong officials called the Justice Department to notify that he had left their territory, there was no doubt of his identity, the spokeswoman said.
“That Hong Kong would ask for more information about his identity demonstrates that it was simply trying to create a pretext for not acting on the provisional arrest request,” the spokeswoman said.
“From a legal perspective, the statement that more evidence or a passport number was needed for provisional arrest is inaccurate. Under the terms of the treaty, we were not required to provide a passport number. The treaty requires: (a) a description of the person; (b) an indication that a surrender request will follow; (c) a statement of the applicable crimes/punishments; (d) and a description of the facts. All of that was provided to Hong Kong.”
美国官员对中间名被弄错的解释嗤之以鼻。美国执法部门一名高级官员说，最初发出的临时逮捕令请求中载明的姓名就是爱德华•J•斯诺登(Edward J. Snowden)。