Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has come forward as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.
The 29-year-old, an ex-CIA technical assistant now working for defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked information regarding the gathering of millions of phone records and monitored internet data.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the matter had been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.
Mr Snowden flew to Hong Kong to make the revelations, citing the nation's "strong tradition of free speech".
Beijing can block extradition if it believes it has an impact on foreign policy issues or national defence.
Mr Snowden has also admitted that seeking asylum in Iceland is another option he would consider.
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