THE Irish government has received a request from the US to arrest fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.
The provisional arrest warrant is now being handled by the Gardaí.
It has been issued as a pre-emptive strike against any effort bythe US futigive to evade US authorities by flying from Moscow to Havana on a flight that stops off at Shannon for refuelling, reports the Irish Times.
Under the Extradition Act 1965, the warrant would enable Gardaí to arrest Snowden and, pending a court hearing, he could be held in Ireland for up to 18 days.
Mr Snowden (30) is wanted in the US after he leaked documents outlining how the US government was intercepting huge amounts of email and telephone messages across the globe.
He had fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia where he remains following the cancellation of his passport.
Earlier this week, Snowden made efforts to seek political asylum in a large number of countries including Ireland.
However, he was told that he could not make such an application unless he was physically in Ireland.
He is currently thought to be in a hotel in the transit zone of Moscow airport.