By John Whitesides
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A contractor at the National Security Agency who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance programs dropped out of sight in Hong Kong on Monday ahead of a likely push by the U.S. government to have him sent back to the United States to face charges.
Edward Snowden, 29, who provided the information for published reports last week that revealed the NSA’s broad monitoring of phone call and Internet data from large companies such as Google and Facebook, checked out of his Hong Kong hotel hours after going public in a video released on Sunday by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
The disclosures by Snowden have sent shockwaves across Washington, where several lawmakers called on Monday for the extradition and prosecution of the ex-CIA employee who was behind one of the most significant security leaks in U.S. history.
There were some signs, however, that Snowden’s stance against government surveillance and his defense of personal privacy was resonating with at least some Americans.
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