Amid reports a former National Security Agency contractor is in Moscow and seeking asylum in Ecuador, the Justice Department is defending its handling of its request for his extradition back to the United States.

Edward Snowden (Getty Images)

Officials in Hong Kong turned down the Obama administration's request that admitted leaker Edward Snowden be sent home, saying the U.S. request did not fully comply with their laws.

The Justice Department on Sunday rejected that claim, saying its request met all of the requirements of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hong Kong.

A spokesman said that during conversations last week, including a phone call Wednesday between Attorney General Eric Holder and Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong officials never raised any issues regarding sufficiency of the U.S. request.

A State Department official said the United States was in touch through diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries that Snowden could travel through or to, reminding them that Snowden is wanted on criminal charges and reiterating Washington's position that Snowden should only be permitted to travel back to the U.S.

AP Source: NSA leaker Snowden's passport revoked

The U.S. government has revoked the passport of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. So says a U.S. official, who confirmed the development Sunday on grounds of anonymity.

The official said the 30-year-old man's passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia. This official also said that Snowden's travel plans could be complicated — but not thwarted — by a lack of a passport. The U.S. official said that if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport.

The former contractor is said to be in Moscow and his allies at anti-secrecy WikiLeaks say Snowden is bound for Ecuador. The foreign minister there says he has requested asylum.

The U.S. official would only discuss the passport on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter.




(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)