Now, the U.S. Government has filed a criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who leaked information about the data mining scheme to The Guardian, according to The Washington Post.
The long story short is that this will take years for the United States to actually get Hong Kong and the Chinese government to actually extradite Snowden -- if ever.
Aside from multiple political complications that will inevitably occur between Beijing and Washington, the SCMP did an extensive job of specifying how many steps (and months) on average there are along the legal process.
The news service also included a number of scenarios in which the outcome is that Snowden is set free, either to remain in Hong Kong or attempt to travel to elsewhere.
The latter option is also tricky because it would require Snowden to fly to another destination that doesn't cross U.S. air space nor has an extradition treaty with Washington.
There have been reports that Wikileaks is negotiating to move Snowden to Iceland to apply for asylum, although that would require a private jet. It is not known who would front the cost for the expensive trip.