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US seeks Edward Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong (VIDEO)

The US has asked Hong Kong to detain NSA leaker Edward Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant for espionage.

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Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked top secret documents revealing a vast surveillance program by the US government to the Guardian newspaper. The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald interviewed Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong and released the video on Sunday June 10, 2013. (YouTube/Screengrab)

American authorities filed espionage charges against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Administration contractor who leaked documents exposing the agency's top-secret surveillance programs.

The one-page criminal complaint detailing charges against Edward Snowden was filed on June 14, the Washington Post first reported.

It was unsealed Friday night.

In it, the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee is charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property.

More from GlobalPost: Edward Snowden speaks out against US government surveillance programs (VIDEO)

Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to NBC News.

Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, and can then take steps to secure Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong for a criminal trial in the United States.

A White House spokesman told CBS News on Saturday that the US expects Hong Kong to comply.

"Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case," National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told CBS.

But the BBC said a senior Obama administration official added, a failure to act soon could cause problems.

"If Hong Kong doesn't act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong's commitment to the rule of law," the official told the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Why Edward Snowden's flight to Hong Kong might be brilliant

Snowden is able to challenge the government's request for extradition in Hong Kong court.

His location is still unknown, with the South China Morning Post reporting on Saturday that he's in a "safe place."

Some news outlets said police had arrested Snowden.

"Contrary to some reports, the former CIA analyst has not been detained, is not under police protection but is in a 'safe place' in Hong Kong," the newspaper said.

The 29-year-old has admitted to providing the news media information about massive government surveillance of phone records and online activity in the United States earlier this month.

He has said the public deserved to know that the US government had ramped up domestic spying, and claimed the records kept by intelligence agencies could easily be used against innocent people.

A petition to pardon Snowden was started on the White House website soon after.

It needs to reach 100,000 signatures by July 9 to receive an official White House response. As of Saturday morning, there were 100,468 signatures. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130621/snowden-charges-us-accuses-nsa-leaker-espionage