(Talking Points Memo) Much of the world is eyeing Hong Kong in anticipation of whatever happens to Edward Snowden — public enemy number one to the U.S. intelligence community, accused of treason by a U.S. senator.

His story and his circumstances invite imaginations to run wild. Snowden himself has suggested his life might be in danger. If this were a spy thriller, the nature of his disclosures and the tradecraft that facilitated them, might be followed by a similar cloak-and-dagger operation to capture him and return him to the United States.

This isn’t a movie, of course. But if you’re an espionage geek, you can take solace in the fact that such an outcome is entirely possible and would be perfectly kosher under U.S. law. The likelier and less exciting reality, though, is that officials will undertake a more straightforward diplomatic and legal process that could result in Snowden’s extradition back to the United States.

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