Edward Snowden NSA 16 June 2013
Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, is seen during a news broadcast on a screen at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on June 16. Reuters

What’s in a name? Perhaps the most embarrassing extradition denial in recent U.S. history.

Hong Kong officials said Wednesday that the provisional arrest warrant documents submitted to them by the U.S. government listed National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden’s middle name as James. On his passport, it is Joseph, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In other documents, according to Hong Kong’s Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen, Washington referred to him as Edward J. Snowden.

The government in Hong Kong said it asked the U.S. government for clarification, but did not hear back in time to block Snowden’s flight from the city to Russia. Reports say he intends to go to Ecuador to seek asylum.

“Until the minute of Snowden’s departure, the U.S. government hadn’t yet replied to our requests for clarification,” Yuen said. “Hong Kong’s government had no legal basis to block his departure.”