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Know Where to Run to: The 5 Best Countries With No Extradition

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leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden
Handout / Getty ImagesFormer CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden is currently hiding out in Hong Kong.
The ever-expanding National Security Agency PRISM scandal has raised a host of philosophical questions about government, freedom and privacy. But one question has been on many people's minds that has less to do with big ideas and more to do with practical ones: How did self-confessed leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden think he was going to escape prosecution by Uncle Sam after he revealed details of the secret government surveillance program?

The answer, apparently, was by fleeing to a country with no extradition treaty with the United States: The former CIA employee and NSA contractor is currently hiding out in Hong Kong. But the ex-intelligence man would have been smart to do a little more research before going on the lam: Hong Kong may not be quite the sanctuary he'd hoped for.

In some ways, Hong Kong is a great place to hide out. While technically, it has an extradition agreement with the U.S., the treaty was signed in 1996, a year before Great Britain transferred control of Hong Kong to China. Since the U.S. doesn't have an extradition agreement with China, it's possible that Snowden may be able to stay there. Certainly, it's a better bet than his original destination, Iceland, a country that has an unambiguous extradition pact with the U.S.

In the grand scheme of things, however, Snowden would have been better served heading to a country with a more clear-cut non-extradition policy. Unfortunately, most countries that refuse to cooperate with the U.S. government are Communist dictatorships, theocracies, failed states, or are otherwise less than ideal. But there are a few hidden gems among them.

In 2010, during the heyday of the post-financial crash Wall Street witch hunt, I compiled a list of the most attractive places to flee to if you happened to be, for example, a Goldman Sachs employee with a few bags of money and a desire to avoid subpoenas or possible criminal charges. Three years later, the list is still worth a peek, especially if you happen to be a U.S. government whistleblower who doesn't want to spend the rest of his days in Fort Leavenworth.

Here are the highlights:


Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings editor. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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sightseeing62

He is emotionally irresponsible, he was highly trusted and paid exceptionally well while taking an oath of allegiance NOT to divulge classified info, and his emotions got in the way. I suppose when shoulder fired warheads land in your back yard then this idea the GOVT had won\'t look so bad in retrospect...the old cliché-\"You Can\'t handle the truth\", they should hang the punk\" same kinda guy that would consider a sex change!

June 13 2013 at 8:12 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to sightseeing62's comment
ldymarilyn

President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law on October 26, 2001 and Congress extended it. This law authorizes the government to obtain any info relevant to a terrorism investigation.

According to the ACLU, \"on May 26, 2011, Congress passed a four-year extension of three expiring Patriot Act provisions without making much-needed changes to the overly broad surveillance bill. The extended provisions are set now set to expire on June 1, 2015. Despite bills pending in both the House and the Senate to amend the three expiring provisions and other sections of the Patriot Act, Congress decided instead to move ahead with a straightforward reauthorization.\"

June 13 2013 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ldymarilyn's comment
setanta54s_back

to BEGIN WITH the patriot act was FOR OUTGOING OVERSEAS not INTERNAL-
fan of this ? NO.
obummerand pals enhanced it etc.

June 13 2013 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ldymarilyn

President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law on October 26, 2001 and Congress extended it. This law authorizes the government to obtain any info relevant to a terrorism investigation.

According to the ACLU, \"on May 26, 2011, Congress passed a four-year extension of three expiring Patriot Act provisions without making much-needed changes to the overly broad surveillance bill. The extended provisions are set now set to expire on June 1, 2015. Despite bills pending in both the House and the Senate to amend the three expiring provisions and other sections of the Patriot Act, Congress decided instead to move ahead with a straightforward reauthorization.\"

June 13 2013 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
samginest

Then I read the descriptions of alternative destinations, and I find myself eating crow, which by the way is great with salt, garlic, and a robust tomato-based marinade.
Croatia and the UAE vie for the top of the least favorable locations to call home, but that is only my opinion.

June 13 2013 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
samginest

This just might be the single most irresponsible article in the history of American journalism.

June 13 2013 at 12:15 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to samginest's comment
setanta54s_back

aol and huffing_ho thrive on this.

June 13 2013 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
adofilli

What makes him a traitor? He hasn't sold any information
He only verified what we susipision --collecting date on the people of this country
He needs a metal -- wake up people --we're going down the river at hell-of-pace

June 12 2013 at 11:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
nkowalak

Why would the traitor go to a beautiful place when he wants China to buy his information? He could get a wire transfer I suppose, but China wants to publish all his crap and he needs to be on their soil to do so. This guy was in Hawaii--Lord made that a beautiful place! I would be interested in how he was contacted to be an informant and for how long. The girlfriend says she didn't know about his second job! Our government wants us to believe there are more people involved--this is one of those times where we will have to wait and see.

June 12 2013 at 10:58 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nkowalak's comment
samginest

Snowden hasn\'t sold any information. Neither has he imparted information under torture (that we know of). It is my personal opinion that he should now return to the United States (very publicly), that he should make sure ALL media outlets know the date and time of his arrival, that he book a minimum of 18 flights with a credit card and hire stand-ins for all but the one he actually takes, and that he announce himself in person at whatever media outlet in St. Louis, Missouri. Or Nashville, Tennessee. Or Chattanooga. Or Raleigh, North Carolina. Or Auburn, Georgia. Or Wichita, Kansas.

June 13 2013 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
setanta54s_back

chinas light years AHEAD in this game and all courtesy of the klintunes.
THEY sold US OUT for measley campaign funding from chicoms.--basically GAVE IT ALL ALWAY right down to encryption.

June 13 2013 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chuck

maybe oboma should go there and stay before he goes to prison for treason?

June 12 2013 at 10:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lglasst1964

Well no one actually said he was intelligent. None of the countries I would go to, I mean come on Dubai, like an American would stand much of a chance of staying alive while there and forget about the rights that you take for granted, like the right to free speech, etc.

June 12 2013 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jackmair

the other 4 are where - I,m pOed too - never again - I feel suckered !

June 12 2013 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply