Snowden Plays Intercontinental Game Of Cat-And-Mouse

The United States is caught up in an intercontinental game of cat-and-mouse with Edward Snowden, the computer contractor who exposed details of secret U.S. surveillance programs.

As Snowden tries to hop from country to country, with help from the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, the United States has resorted to issuing stern words calling for his return.

Hong Kong, where Snowden had been holed up for weeks, allowed him to leave for Moscow on Sunday, despite a U.S. extradition request.

Next, he plans to travel to Ecuador to seek asylum, according to WikiLeaks, which is helping him attempt to stay out of Washington’s reach.

At the same time, the U.S. government is attempting to block his path, calling on the countries involved to hand him over. But its clout appears limited, with Snowden expected to travel through a series of nations that have little reason to heed its request.

“We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said early Monday.

She cited “intensified cooperation” between Washington and Moscow after the Boston Marathon bombings and “our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters — including returning numerous high level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government.”

But Russian media have reported that the country’s security services have no basis for arresting Snowden. Russian officials didn’t immediately comment on the matter Monday.

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