Fla. Sen. Bill Nelson reacts to charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden

Criminal complaint unsealed Friday in US District Court

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WASHINGTON - Florida Senator Bill Nelson is reacting to the news of charges against Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs.

Federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property, according to a criminal complaint that was unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

The United States has asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Sen. Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote to the New York Daily News on June 11, saying that what Snowden did "amounts to an act of treason."

"I've always thought this was a treasonous act. Apparently, so does the U.S. Department of Justice," Nelson said in a statement released Friday. "I hope Hong Kong's government will take him into custody and extradite him to the U.S."

Snowden, 29, has admitted in interviews he was the source behind the leak of classified documents about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. Those leaks were the basis of reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper this month. The Guardian revealed Snowden's identify at his request.

Snowden is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, where he said in interviews earlier this month he fled with the documents after taking a leave of absence from his job as an intelligence analyst for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamiliton.

In the interview with the South China Morning Post, he said he plans to stay in Hong Kong to fight any attempt to force him to return to the United States because he has "faith in Hong Kong's rule of law."

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