1. Step One

    Snowden Charges Just the Beginning

    A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a restaurant in Hong Kong Wednesday, June 12, 2013. The whereabouts of Snowden remained unknown Wednesday, two days after he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Kin Cheung/AP

    The U.S. government has filed espionage charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden, but that's just the beginning of what promises to be a very drawn-out process. The charges are just the first step in the government's attempt to extradite Snowden from Hong Kong, where he is currently in hiding. Although a newspaper there claimed he is under police protection, territorial authorities have declined to comment. Snowden has been charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communication intelligence to an unauthorized person. Under the Espionage Act, the last two charges could mean fines and up to 10 years in prison.

    Read it at Reuters