Tags: snowden | refuge | china

Gordon Chang: Snowden May Trade Info 'for Refuge' in China

Image: Gordon Chang: Snowden May Trade Info 'for Refuge' in China A picture of Edward Snowden is displayed on the front page of a newspaper in Hong Kong on June 12.

By Christiana Lilly   |   Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 01:35 PM

Edward Snowden is no doubt planning to defect to China to protect himself from U.S. extradition laws, author and China expert Gordon Chang says.

"If you're trying to run away from Uncle Sam, you don't go to a jurisdiction which has an extradition treaty with the U.S., which Hong Kong does," Chang said Wednesday on "Fox & Friends."

Snowden, who could be facing charges related to his disclosure of a classified government program that collects telephone and email data, is still in Hong Kong, according to an interview he gave The South China Morning Post.

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"What he's really thinking is that China is going to save him from being extradited and probably he's also going to think about trading information for refuge. ... He's saying to the Chinese, 'This is how valuable I am, so don’t let the US extradite me,'" Chang told Fox.

Snowden, called a whistleblower by some and a traitor by others, revealed the details of the program run by the National Security Agency shortly after President Barack Obama met last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California, where they discussed China's alleged cyberattacks on the United States. Chang suggested Snowden's disclosure may have been timed to the meeting to help him gain recognition from the Chinese government.

"He is intending to do something to give information to China so he can save himself," he said.

Chang also believes Snowden may have hacked into the computer systems of Booz Allen Hamilton, the U.S. security contractor where he worked, because he lacked the clearance level he would need to access "the stunning amount of information that he claims to possess."

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